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Smart Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Farmington Hills divorce attorney, child custody arrangements, file for divorce, divorce and finances, divorce and communicationThe longer you have been married and the more assets you have accumulated, the more complicated it will be to unweave the financial and logistical fabric of your married life. Additionally, once you officially file for divorce, you can quickly find yourself caught up in a tsunami of paperwork, meetings, and emotions. Therefore, it is important to take some preparatory steps before filing for divorce

Organize Documentation

  1. Make an itemized list of your income sources, assets, debts, and shared service accounts. Include bank/investment/retirement accounts, insurance policies, credit cards, loans, cell phone plans, etc. Also, include account numbers and passwords for online access.
  2. Gather copies of important documents such as tax returns and vehicle title and registration papers. 

Begin to Separate Your Financial Affairs From Your Spouse’s

  1. Open a checking account in your name only and seed it with emergency funds. Be prepared to account for money removed from joint accounts, as you do not want to be accused of hiding assets.
  2. Make sure you have at least one credit card in your name only.
  3. Rent a safe deposit box in your name only, so you have a secure place to store important documents.
  4. Make a list of documents that name your spouse as a beneficiary or agent, which will eventually need to be revised (e.g., life insurance, retirement accounts, living wills). However, refrain from actually making changes until the divorce settlement is finalized.
  5. Amend your W-4 tax withholding at work.
  6. Consider paying off and closing any joint credit card accounts, to prevent an angry spouse from running up charges for which you could be held responsible.

Personal Behavior

  1. If you want to keep the marital home after the divorce, do not move out—it could affect your negotiating position.
  2. If you anticipate conflict with your spouse over issues of child custody and parenting time, now is the time to put your children first and be involved in their daily lives.
  3. Avoid social media rants about your divorce or your soon-to-be ex, as well as raves about your extramarital social life.
  4. Remember that misconduct may be considered by the court when dividing marital property, awarding spousal support, and determining child custody arrangements.
  5. Be conservative with spending in the months prior to filing for divorce, and try to build up a financial cushion—your overall expenses may rise in the short-term as you deal with setting up separate residences.

Trusted Divorce Attorneys in Southeast Michigan

One of the most important pre-divorce steps is the selection of an attorney. Working with an experienced Farmington Hills divorce attorney will make sure your best interests are protected. Call Elkouri Health, PLC at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer at our Novi, Michigan office.





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