It’s no secret that divorces can get messy fast. Even if you had a mostly blissful marriage before things went wrong, a divorce can be a nightmare. You may never imagine that your soon-to-be ex would betray you, but many women are often blindsided by how their partner can seemingly change overnight when either spouse files for divorce.
Be proactive about protecting yourself before you file for a divorce. Start by seeing a divorce lawyer well before you actually file. Also, take these four steps to protect yourself prior to separating or filing for divorce.
Document Everything That Is Threatening
If your reasons for divorcing your spouse include abuse to you or your children, be sure to document this as fully as possible. If you fear that you or your kids may be in immediate danger, you should leave right away. If you feel safe but later encounter abuse, document it in every way possible. If a spouse has left any mark on you, photograph it and write a record of the incident.
Start a notebook for the sole purpose of recording every incident with your spouse that concerns you. You should also document any threats and file a police report as needed. If the threat is a verbal threat to your face, record the date, time, and location. Do the same for voicemails, and save the actual voicemails when possible. The more details you record, the better you can protect yourself.
Reconnect and Expand Your Professional Contacts
Women who have chosen to stay home from work while raising children may feel out of the loop career-wise. If you have put your career on hold to take care of your kids, try to reconnect professionally to those you know in your field before you file for divorce. With social media, it is easier than ever to reach out to old co-workers who will likely be delighted to hear from you.
One’s financial health typically takes a hit during a divorce, so you need to explore your options. Even if you are already working full-time, you may also want to take classes at a local college or trade school to learn new job skills that will help you have an edge. After all, you may need to try to advance in your career to make up lost income, and you may make new professional contacts.
Study Your Marital Finances
Know your finances inside and out before you file for a divorce. You’ve probably heard the horror stories of a partner emptying bank accounts during a divorce, leaving the other spouse penniless and without a way to recover the lost money. The laws that protect assets vary from state to state, and it’s best to know as much about where you stand financially as possible.
Take Your Personal Credit Very Seriously
Get a copy of your credit report when you first start considering a divorce. You need to know how good your credit is. If you and your spouse share joint debts, your spouse’s spending habits and financial health may impact your own as you move into a divorce and beyond. You need to know how your credit report changes before, during, and after a divorce.
You should also make sure you have at least one credit card in your name only before filing for a divorce. You don’t want your ex to have the power to unexpectedly cut off a credit card and a means of having access to money or a line of credit. Having a credit card in your name can help increase your credit score too.
Finally, if you are considering a divorce or worrying that your spouse may be on the verge of asking for one, you should see a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. That will help ensure that your best interests are protected, and either way, you can move forward with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are making choices that are in your own best interests.