Reaching the decision to divorce is not always mutual.
Often times one spouse is anticipating filing for divorce long before the other spouse has any inclination that anything is amiss. What should you do if you find yourself in a position where you discover that your spouse is likely to move forward with a divorce? Well read on in this blog for several steps you can take to protect your interests in this situation
One: Understand the finances.
This is a crucial first step in protecting your interests in the case of a divorce. How can you be expected to safeguard your share of the marital assets if you don’t even know what those assets are? In addition to obtaining information on the more readily identifiable assets (bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc…), you will also want to delve into the debts that are out there (credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and personal loans). If you are able, make copies of statements that provide the relevant information necessary to get a complete understanding of the martial assets and debts. Getting copies of previous years’ tax returns is another important step you take as you look to further your understanding of the marital finances.
Two: Establish your budget.
A divorce is going to great significant challenges in that a household is often times going from two incomes to one. This can have a dramatic impact on your financial well-being in the near term as well as your ability to meet long term financial goals. The first step in addressing this situation is building an accurate budget that takes a realistic look at what your anticipated post-divorce income and expenses will look like. The sooner you start to address this issue; the sooner you can begin laying carefully laid plans to secure your financial future.
Three: How Is Real Property Titled.
This can have significant impacts on how the marital residence (i.e. the home) is distributed. If the home was owned by one party prior to the divorce, and title was never transferred to both parties, the spouse who owned the home previously can make arguments as to why the marital residence should be subject to distribution as part of the divorce (or at least a portion of the equity shouldn’t be distributed as part of the divorce). If a divorce is on the horizon, and your name is not on the deed, explore opportunities to put the title in both spouse’s names.
Four: Continue to be Observant.
Once you have a complete understanding of the marital finances, it is incumbent on you to continue to diligently track the martial finances. This includes regularly reviewing deposit account transactions to see if large purchases or transfers of funds are taking place. If you notice any of these things, immediately address the issue with your spouse, and be sure to maintain the necessary records to document these transactions. By maintaining an active and engaged role in the marital finances, you will be able to proactively identify and address issues before they become an issue.
A divorce, particularly an unanticipated one, is never a pleasant experience. However, by taking a few simple steps, as outlined above, you can ensure that your interests are being protected. As always, if you are contemplating a divorce, or have had a spouse file for divorce, the divorce and family law attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm are here to help. Stop in to our Sioux City law firm, Sioux Falls law firm, or Omaha law firm to talk to an attorney today. For more information like the content in this article, check out our Divorce Docket blog.