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Five Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce

A divorce is a stressful process for any family. One home splitting into two can affect your life, your children, your home, and your assets. As you move through the divorce process, it is important to understand each stage of the divorce and how to protect yourself, your children, and your assets. It is also imperative to have an advocate by your side who can properly guide you through the divorce process. Failing to do so may lead to irreversible consequences.

1. Get all of your financial information in order. A divorce is mostly a financial transaction with the exception of the children. You will most likely be required to provide three years of bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, and other financial information. Gathering this information prior to filing will help expedite the process and allow for smoother financial disclosures.

2. Prior to filing for divorce, make sure that you protect yourself financially in the event that your spouse tries to cut off your access to credit card or bank accounts. Although the court does not condone this type of behavior, getting an order from a judge may take several days or longer. Undoing the damage caused by your spouse’s actions may be very difficult. Make sure that you protect your interests prior to filing to prevent this from happening.

3. Do not disparage your spouse in person, over the phone, through email, on social media, or to your children. Making negative remarks about your spouse will only come back to haunt you. One of the factors that a court considers when making a time-sharing determination is “the capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.”

4. Do not take any sort of retaliatory action, whether it is financial, emotional, or otherwise. The courts do not tolerate retaliatory actions and engaging in such actions may result in the court finding you in contempt, sanctioning you, forcing you to pay attorneys’ fees, and could negatively impact the outcome of your case.

5. If there is a risk that your spouse will accuse you of domestic violence or where a physical altercation may occur, do not place yourself in a situation where you and your spouse are alone without witnesses. If domestic violence charges are brought, the court will usually require that the alleged offender vacate the marital home and will allow the victim to remain in the home until the matter is resolved. Additionally, domestic violence charges may affect your job, security clearances, and background checks.