Before filing for a divorce, here are the top 10 tips for preparing yourself for the next steps.
1. Open a separate bank account and keep any documentation in a separate location or on a secure phone;
2. Open a credit card in your name and keep it handy;
3. Be familiar with any bills or accounts in your sole name, ex. car payments, credit accounts, utilities, etc.;
4. Be familiar with any bills or joint accounts and be prepared to obtain your own or remove your name from joint accounts if need be, ex. cell phone, utilities, car insurance, credit cards, etc.;
5. Locate all official documentation and be able to safeguard it if need be, ex. birth certificates, passports, marriage license, etc.;
6. Compile and safeguard all passwords for any online and bill payer accounts and change them if need be;
7. Have a place to go if you anticipate your situation will become abusive in any manner;
8. If you have consulted with an attorney, have the attorney office contact information readily available to you;
9. Plan a basic budget in the event that you may need to move from your present location; or, if another wage earner in your house moves out and no longer contributes to your expenses; and
10. If you have children, plan how you will explain the need for separation or divorce and be prepared for any reaction, depending on their age.
The foregoing list is only a general guide as to what steps most people contemplating divorce might do and is not specific legal advice. This checklist does not substitute for a consultation with an attorney who specializes in Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Support, Alimony and/or Domestic Violence.