Orange County Pre-Divorce Planning Attorneys
The best time to talk to an attorney about a divorce is as soon as you can comfortably discuss the topic. Depending on the situation, a delay may make the divorce process much more difficult. This is especially true if you think the divorce may be contentious and large amounts of assets are involved. Your spouse may try to hide assets to prevent their division from being part of the divorce order.
Here are some actions you should consider,
1. Obtain a copy of your credit report
You may find your spouse, without your approval, used your name (and your credit score) to obtain loans and credit cards. If this happened it’s better to learn of this sooner than later. You can get a free credit report from this website.
2. Open a PO Box
Control and confidentiality of information during divorce litigation is critical. If your spouse has access to your mail it will hinder your ability to maintain confidentiality and get effective legal representation. Set up a post office box and have your mail forwarded to it to prevent possible problems.
3. Change your passwords
Your financial accounts and emails are probably accessible online. By changing passwords you increase the chance you can keep this information away from your spouse. There are no guarantees as your spouse may have loaded spyware onto your computer and be able to look at your every move on the computer. You may want to use a computer at a library, then change your passwords and go to that library when you need to look at anything sensitive.
4. Keep notes
You could have any number of problems with your spouse: over spending, addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling), abuse (verbal or physical) of you and/or your children, or infidelity. When these problems arise, or conversations take place about them, take notes including the facts, the content of conversations, time, date and location, and any potential witnesses to the event(s).
5. Open your own checking account
If you have a joint bank or investment account with your spouse, he or she may empty it without warning. Open your own checking account so you can have some control over what you earn. You should also use a different bank to prevent the possibility an overly friendly bank employee telling your spouse confidential information.
6. Gather and keep copies of important documents
Your spouse may try to destroy or hide them. Make copies before that can happen. Documents worth copying include,
- Deeds to property, mortgages and property tax records,
- Credit card and bank statements,
- Loan documents,
- Income tax returns for the last three to four years,
- Paycheck stubs for the two of you,
- Investment, retirement and pension account statements, and
- Insurance coverage and benefit descriptions.
7. Think about your custody case
If you have children what kind of custody do you think would be right for them and you? Do you think your spouse would agree? If you want primary custody and you think your spouse would object, write down why you should have the primary responsibility for parenting. What facts would support your claim? What evidence supports your position? Which witnesses can help support your facts and what will they say?
A divorce, especially one involving children or substantial assets, is a serious process and a major change in your life. It’s not something you should do without serious thought and preparation. If you live in Orange County and want to take action to start the divorce process, contact our office so we can schedule an appointment where we can discuss your situation, your plans for the future, and how we can help you attain the future you seek.