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10 Tips to Prepare for Divorce and Protect your Interests

Joseph Franks
10 Tips to Prepare for Divorce and Protect your Interests

Divorce is a difficult phase of life, especially if both parties are not on the same page and there is too much conflict between them. It can come as a shock if your spouse filed the divorce behind your back and it was not something you expected. If your marriage is wreaking havoc and either of you is not willing to make amends, divorce is certainly the right direction. However, it is necessary to prepare yourself for the legal proceedings and do all you can to protect your interests. You do not want your spouse to get an unfair advantage or take away something that is rightfully yours.

1. Do not ignore service of legal documents

If your spouse has filed divorce and you have received the court notice, do not avoid it and wait for it to disappear. If you do not respond to the service, the marriage will be terminated via default divorce. You must actively participate in the procedure to ensure that your rights are protected.

2. Try to stay in the Family home

Individuals having a strained relationship with their spouse, often abandon the family home in haste. This is not a good move if you have children and hope to keep the family home in future. Your actions will impact the court’s decision regarding child custody. If there is no way that you and your spouse can live civilly under the same roof, consider ‘time sharing’ where either part gets to stay in the house alternatively for equal time periods.

3. Keep your children close

Do not prohibit your children from seeing their other parent or allow your spouse to take them away. The kids do not need to be part of your fights or witness both of you getting at each other’s throats. If you cannot spend time with your children together, then do it separately. Think of it as a practice drill for childcare after the divorce.

4. Establish your finances

If you are not aware of your total household income and expenses, you need to figure it out fast. If you are fully or partially dependent on your spouse’s earnings, it is probably time to seek employment, find a new job, or redefine your budget. It is commonplace to underestimate individual expenses and then experience a severe financial crisis on your own.

5. Account for key events and timelines

Key events and timelines in a marriage influence various aspects of divorce, including asset division, alimony, child custody, and child support. The duration of your marriage, child birth, signing up for a mortgage, obtaining a joint lease, starting a business/making an investment, leaving a job (temporarily or permanently) to look after the child/house, and funding the spouse’s education are a few things you should be able to recollect. 

6. Do not steal or hide any marital property

Protecting yourself financially is important in a divorce, but it does not imply that you commit fraud or theft. If you attempt to hide assets or miscellaneous sources of income, this treachery will most likely backfire. Stealing from marital assets and income will be noticed sooner or later, leading to legal problems in the aftermath.

7. Hire an Attorney

A litigated divorce is complicated and things can get ugly if you confront your spouse without a legal representative. Family Law Attorney in Arizona will seamlessly guide you through the process, handle all the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, and always protect your interests.

8. Don’t sign anything without your lawyer

Your spouse may trick you into giving up as asset or signing up for something the goes against your will. You should always take the time to read every document before adding your signature to it. You should refer to your lawyer if you don’t understand any of the terms or clauses. Finalizing an agreement with the lawyer’s approval will keep you safe.

9. Always report Domestic Violence

If your spouse is guilty of inflicting emotional and/or physical abuse, do not tolerate it. Children who witness domestic violence are scarred for life. Reporting your spouse’s behavior will grant you legal protection and it will become easier to attain sole child custody.

10. Terminate joint accounts and credit

If you and your spouse share bank accounts or credit, you should put an end to the joint system. Take your half out from the accounts and close all credit cards. You should do this before your spouse gets the chance to withdraw all funds or max-out the credit limit. 

Joseph Franks
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