When you’ve tried everything else to strengthen your marriage, divorce may be imminent. If your marriage is irretrievably broken, you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself:
1. Find an Attorney
Before you take any action, it’s important to consult with an attorney. You may not have the legal right to take your children away and place them in a new home while the divorce is still in motion.
An attorney will help you through the divorce legally so that your actions do not harm the divorce proceedings.
Discuss your options with multiple attorneys until you find a professional who is experienced, affordable and has dealt with a case similar to yours. Divorce is a life-changing time in anyone’s life, and the right attorney can help make your divorce move along smoothly and within the guidelines of the law.
2. Make an Asset Inventory
Aside from your children and your home, you need to make a complete asset inventory so that you know which marital items will be divided in the divorce. A few of the most important items to consider are:
- Artwork or collectibles
You’ll also want to make copies of your financial data, such as:
- Financial statements
- Social Security statements
- Credit card or line of credit documents
Any savings, retirement or checking accounts should also have the value documented, with financial statements copied and handed to your attorney.
3. Analyze Family Debt
Debt is a major concern because it will be part of your responsibility if it was accrued during your marriage. You want to take an inventory of all debt that you have, and make an attempt to find out when the debt was incurred. If it was accrued prior to your marriage, this would be considered non-marital debt, meaning that it is the responsibility of only the spouse who took on the debt.
4. Make Copies of Important Documents
Important documents should have copies made. A few of the most important documents that you’ll want to have copies of include:
- Mortgage statements
- Tax returns
- Investment statements
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Financial statements
- Credit card statements
- Automobile titles
All of these documents are very important, and include much of the assets that a marriage will have. Having a current and up-to-date record of all these financial statements will allow you to have proof of how much money, debt and assets you currently have in your marriage partnership.
You’ll also need to be prepared to discuss many sensitive matters, such as child custody. In an ideal situation, you will be able to work most of these intricacies out with your partner so that you can both come to an agreement on custody matters and many other aspects of a divorce.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.