How Do I Prepare For Divorce?
If you think divorce is in your future, the sooner you seek legal advice, the better prepared you will be. Preparing for divorce does not mean that you have to get divorced. It simply means that you will be ready if it happens.
I’m attorney Eileen Thomas. I help men and women in the Atlanta metro area and northern Georgia negotiate and draft uncontested divorce agreements. In my more than 20 years of experience, I have found that most people do not know what their rights are when it comes to divorce. Many don’t have a detailed understanding of what assets they and their spouse own.
If you are not familiar with your family’s finances, now is the time to become familiar. Here are some things you should do to protect your interests:
- Find out what financial accounts you and your spouse have, including savings, stock and retirement accounts. You have the right to an equitable share of all assets accumulated during your marriage, including 401(k) and IRA accounts.
- Find out what real estate you and your spouse own, including property you or your spouse owned before your marriage. Has any property been refinanced? If so, that can affect whether the property is marital or separate property. Only an experienced lawyer can tell you whether property is marital or separate.
- Become familiar with your estate plan, life insurance plans, benefits you and your spouse have through your employment, and tax returns.
- Protect your financial information. If you don’t want your spouse to have access to your accounts, change the passwords. Don’t empty out your accounts, however, as that could come back to harm you.
- Cancel credit cards you have with your spouse and obtain new credit cards in your name only.
- Start making plans for how you will keep yourself and your children happy and healthy after divorce.
- Figure out a monthly budget.
It takes time to prepare yourself emotionally and financially for a divorce. If you are seeking a divorce, it’s also important to give your spouse time to prepare.