With your attorney....
- Be honest with your attorney and don't try to hide information OR assets.
- Follow your attorney's advice
- Keep open communication with your attorney
- Never be embarrassed to ask your attorney to explain something.
If children are involved, keep a journal documenting any time the kids go back and forth between you and the other parent and any other relevant information.
TIPS FOR FIGHTING FAIR
- Don't empty the house when you move out
- Don't close the bank accounts or cancel the credit cards
- Don't cut off the utilities
- Don't move out of state with the kids
- Don't try to get your ex fired
- Don't call CPS or the police on your ex unless it is a valid complaint
PLANNING AHEAD FOR DIVORCE
- Make a list of all your major assets and when & from what source you received them, include account numbers and specific descriptions and values
- Make a list of all debts, balance owed, primary debtor and account numbers
- Write down VIN on all vehicles and find a copy of your deeds if possible
- Obtain pension/401k account and contact info
- Open a separate bank account and possibly a safe deposit box
- Separate your mailing address; Open a PO Box if you are still living together
- Request a personal benefits and earnings statement for both you and your spouse from the Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov
- Determine what you and your spouse wish to do with your marital residence
- Make a plan for paying off joint debts
- Make a plan for closing and separating joint financial accounts
- Close all joint credit cards and open new ones in your sole name; remove spouse as authorized user on accounts
- Obtain a copy of the last 2 years' tax returns
- Review and update your monthly budget
- Gather copies of all financial documents
- Locate important documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, education records, passports, etc.
AFTER YOU FILE FOR DIVORCE
Things you cannot do, without a written agreement or court order:
- Buy any major purchase - no real estate, big electronics, cars, etc.
- Take out any new loans or credit cards
- Sell anything major or of sentimental value to your spouse
- Drop your spouse from insurance
- Take withdrawals from your retirement fund, other than a regular monthly payment that you were getting before filing for divorce
- Close out bank accounts or move money from one account to another
What you can do:
- Pay your regular bills (utilities, mortgage, credit cards at minimum monthly pymt)
- Pay your living expenses (groceries, gasoline, clothes, etc.)
- Pay your attorney
- Conduct your ordinary business
- Obtain and review your credit report