Your spouse wants a divorce. Now what? Even if your marriage has been in trouble lately, your spouse’s announcement may be shocking or, at the very least, upsetting. You are likely dealing with an ocean of confusing thoughts and feelings, which is why it may be difficult to know what to do next.
As emotional as your life may be right now, it is important that you understand that divorce can quickly make you vulnerable to financial struggles. It will be critical for you to remain focused on your goal and take certain steps to improve the chances of attaining a reasonable and fair settlement or court order so you can avoid those struggles that many deal with in the first months and years following a divorce.
Be proactive to avoid hardships
Even in a civil divorce, your finances may be at risk. An amicable break can quickly turn adversarial, and if you have not taken the steps to protect what is rightfully yours, you may lose your chances of getting your fair share of marital assets. For example, some actions you can and perhaps should take immediately after your spouse asks for a divorce are:
- Prevent your spouse from cleaning out your joint savings or investments by asking your bank to require signatures from both you and your spouse before making any withdrawals.
- Close any joint credit accounts you share with your spouse to prevent your spouse from charging more debt for which you may share responsibility in the divorce order.
- Pay off as much of your joint debt as possible.
- Obtain copies of your credit reports so you can identify which debts are co-owned.
- Continue to monitor your credit score periodically throughout the divorce to ensure your partner is not obtaining credit in your name.
- Figure out how much you should receive from asset division by determining which assets you jointly own and calculating the total incomes of you and your spouse.
For any of these and other tasks you may face, having solid, individual legal counsel can be invaluable. Even if your spouse offers to share the services of a single attorney, having your own will improve the chances that your best interests are under someone’s watchful eye and protection. A Florida attorney can also connect you with other resources to assist you, such as modifying your estate plan and minimizing any tax ramifications from your divorce.