Anyone who is starting to think that divorce is the best solution to their marital problems needs to know how to be prepared. This also applies in cases where you have a strong suspicion that your spouse is planning to file for divorce. You may have even had a conversation concerning the likelihood of divorce, and you may need to prepare as much as you can as quickly as possible if you know that your spouse could file for divorce at any time. In other situations, you may be planning for divorce for some time before bringing it up. It is wise to seek marital counseling before making a final decision, but it is also wise to take steps to ensure that you are on sound footing before making that decision. Following are some of the important steps that you need to take before filing for divorce in Greenville, South Carolina.
Start By Gathering All of Your Financial Records and Organizing Your Information
Gathering all of your financial records and organizing your information is a good way to start preparing for your impending divorce. You should not keep this information inside of the home that you still share with your spouse, however. Rather, you would be wise to place your information in the safe keeping of someone who is close enough to you to trust. This might be your parents or a good friend. You might even consider getting a safe deposit box to store this information.
Open Up a Post Office Box to Create a Separate Address for Confidential Mail
You don’t want all of your confidential mail to be accessible to your spouse when you are planning to get divorced. Rather, you should get a post office box in your name for such correspondence. It is usually wise to keep the post office box a secret to avoid unnecessary conflict in a relationship that is already headed for divorce. This is especially true if you are in a situation that is dangerous with a spouse who may be controlling or abusive if they find out about your intentions.
Save Money to Cover the Expenses of Divorce and Attorney’s Fees
There are multiple expenses that are associated with divorce. Some of the most obvious ones include your attorney’s fees and the legal expenses associated with filing. Yet, this is not all that you need to think about. If you are looking to escape from a dangerous relationship or if you intend to be the one to leave the home for any other reason, then you need to save money to move. Even if you intend to stay inside the home, you need to save money to be able to pay the regular household expenses without the help of your spouse. This is especially important for individuals who are financially dependent on their spouse. You do not want to find yourself stuck in a bad marriage because you can’t afford to live alone.
The best way to start saving money is to open your own checking account and savings account in a different financial institution than your spouse and/or joint accounts. You can also withdraw as much as half of the funds that are in those shared accounts, though you should seek legal advice before doing so. You should also ensure that you are in a safe position to do so. Some people will choose to withdraw funds gradually over time rather than making one obvious withdrawal at once.
Change Information in Wills, Medical Directives, and Insurance Policies
When you have decided to get a divorce, you will want to make changes to all of the important documents that your spouse is listed on. You don’t want your spouse to be your power of attorney or the inheritor of your assets if you should pass away. Having said that, you’ll still need to make more changes after the divorce is final, and the changes you make before the divorce may not prevent your spouse from inheriting anything if you pass away before the divorce is final. It will minimize what the spouse could inherit and ensure that your children or other beneficiaries are not neglected. It is important to be aware of the fact that your spouse may be notified when such changes are made. If you are not prepared to discuss your intention to divorce, then you would be wise to contact the insurance company and other relevant entities to prevent them from notifying your spouse. There are some cases where you will not be able to make such changes until after the divorce unless your spouse signs off.
Make a Thorough List of All Personal Properties and All Marital Properties
When you file for divorce, you are going to need to know what kinds of property you’re dealing with. You need to make a thorough list of all properties and assets that are your own and not a product of the marriage. You will also need to make a thorough list of all properties and assets that are a product of the marriage. This will help you and your attorney to establish which properties and assets need to be fairly divided and which assets are entirely your own.
In most cases, any property that you owned before the marriage or received yourself through inheritance or from a third party will be your own. Further, any gifts that were given to you by your spouse are also your own. However, if you purchased property, received a joint inheritance, or anything else that you may have received along with your spouse, then these properties are marital properties. It’s a good idea to take pictures or videos of your own property so that these items do not ‘disappear’ after you file for divorce. It can be difficult to prove the existence of things you cannot produce.
To learn more about preparing for divorce, call the determined Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorneys at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm and schedule a consultation.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.