Going through a divorce is emotional and overwhelming. Many people feel lost, alone, and ashamed throughout the process. Protecting yourself legally and financially becomes an afterthought. This is why you must prepare to protect your own interest before the process even begins.
No matter who is at fault, here are four things you can do to prepare yourself if you believe that divorce is a distinct possibility in the near future:
1. Seek Assistance
Everybody’s situation is different, so nobody will need to prepare in exactly the same way. Your first step should be building a team to help represent you. Talk to specialized divorce attorneys. Meet with your financial planner. You may even want to talk to a therapist. With a strong support system, you’ll be prepared and ready to face the lengthy divorce process.
2. Avoid Major Expenditures
Don’t take a luxurious vacation or put money down on a brand-new car if you think that divorce is on the horizon. It can be an expensive process and it’s just one more thing that you have to hash out throughout the settlement. Reduce expenses, set it aside, and you’ll both be better off for it in the long-term, even if you end up making it work.
3. Gather Documentation
Divorce involves a great deal of paperwork and supporting documentation. To make it easier on yourself in the future, it’s a good idea to start setting it aside now. Keep in mind that if they are joint accounts, your requests may be made known to your spouse.
Here are the types of documents you’ll want to start gathering:
- Bank statements for at least 12 months.
- 401k or other retirement account statements.
- Mortgage statements.
- Credit card and loan statements (for example, a car loan).
- Detailed list of assets (furniture, automobiles, electronic equipment, etc.).
- Pay stubs, W-2s and 1099s.
4. Don’t Try to Get Clever
Divorce proceedings can be simple if everyone is honest and straightforward. If you try to hide money or do things to ‘beat’ your spouse, the courts will find out in the end. They’ve seen it all. The only thing you’ll end up doing is drawing out the process, costing you more money and making a difficult time of your life last even longer. Be honest with yourself, your team, and your spouse, and it’ll make for a much smoother process.
Nobody wants to go through divorce, and taking proper precautions doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed. All it means is that if the worst-case scenario comes to fruition, you’ve ensured that you’ll be able to deal with it as effectively as possible.
If you have questions for a Tampa divorce lawyer, or are unaware of the terms and conditions of a Tampa divorce, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]