What should you do if your spouse says they want a divorce. In some cases this day may have seemed inevitable. In other cases this pronouncement can come as a complete surprise. Are you supposed to just sit around until you are served with divorce papers? Absolutely not. What do you need to know and how can you protect your interests.
The first and perhaps most important thing to know is your spouse has almost certainly spoken with an attorney. You will need sound advice and proven counsel from the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. You need to know what to expect, what information to gather, and whether to file first or prepare to respond if you are served.
If you have children, make sure you are actively involved in every aspect of their daily life and routine if you wish to seek shared or joint custody and parenting time. This means assisting with the preparation of meals, studying, transportation to and from school, extracurricular activities and any other need the child may have. The Court will take a close look at the involvement of each parent when determining child custody and parenting time orders. It is also important to stay in the house itself to protect your interests and ensure allegations of abandonment or abuse are not falsely asserted.
When your spouse says they want a divorce you need to take steps to organize and protect important documents and information such as 3 to 5 years of tax returns (and if you or your spouse has their own business tax returns and financials for the company as well). You will want to print or have access to monthly statements for all joint bank accounts, credit cards, debts and investments. It is important not to illegally access online accounts, even if you know the login/password. Our attorneys can guide you through these steps.
Change the logins and passwords on all of your own accounts, social media profiles and emails.
Discuss limitations on existing credit or bank accounts. Put these concerns in writing to your spouse immediately to ensure they do not liquidate assets or run up credit accounts prior to the divorce. Document anything which concerns you as our attorneys can help to recover your marital interest in any such activity during property division.
Finally, when your spouse says they want a divorce you need to clearly understand one fact about the process of a divorce: the time it takes to complete and the cost of your divorce are directly related to the amount of disagreement between the two of you and your ability to work through these issues and reach a settlement.
This is why it is so important to immediately consult with one of our attorneys. We understand the emotional impact of the moment. You need to understand the process you are about to undertake and develop a plan to protect your goals and objectives. You need a proven, experienced legal partner who can guide you through each step and make the process and the experience less stressful. You need Burke & Domercq.