Getting a divorce can be challenging, but there are ways to make the process easier. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself in a divorce.
Ending a marriage is never easy, especially since you previously believed that you found your “forever” person. However, not all marital unions end in bliss, and it’s better to part ways than to continue on in some cases.
If you’re lucky, then it’ll be an amicable split, but it still won’t be painless. Emotions can be raw, and while your ex-spouse probably won’t take advantage of you, their lawyer might try. This means you need to survive the divorce with what’s important.
Read on for eight tips on how to protect yourself in a divorce so you’re prepared.
1. Gather Financial Documents
You can bet that your financial situation will be looked over with a fine-tooth comb. If you don’t have a clear understanding of it, then it’s easy for others to take advantage of you.
Collect all relevant financial documents, such as your bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, property deeds, and any other assets or liabilities. These will also help while you’re going through the divorce proceedings.
2. Open Individual Accounts
43% of married couples only have joint bank accounts, meaning almost half of married people don’t have their own accounts. If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, then it’s a good idea to open one of your own, as well as take out credit cards in your own name too.
Even though you’re on amicable terms now, you never know if something will change. If your spouse suddenly becomes wreckless with the money in your joint account and it goes into the negative, then you’re liable for the debt too. Not to mention, you’ll also have more independence, so they’ll have less leverage against you.
3. Preserve Your Assets
On that note, you should avoid making any significant financial changes during the divorce process. While you want to protect your assets, you should prioritize preserving them.
This means you shouldn’t sell or transfer assets unless absolutely necessary. Should you perform these actions, they can be perceived as an attempt to hide or reduce marital assets. This can make you less credible and can make your spouse suspicious of your intentions.
4. Be Mindful of Your Social Media Activity
It’s understandable that you’ll want to vent about your upcoming divorce with friends. However, you should do so in a private setting and not on social media posts.
Anything you say about your spouse can be used against you, even if you don’t have them on your friends list. After all, anyone can read public posts, and even if you have your profile on “friends only”, it’s all too easy for one of your supposed friends to leak your posts to your ex.
You can never be too careful, so change all passwords to your online accounts. Pick ones that can’t be easily guessed, especially by your spouse.
5. Seek Emotional Support
Divorce itself can be a challenging subject, and studies have shown that divorced people suffer from higher rates of depression, illness, substance abuse, and mortality. It’s now more important than ever to get sufficient emotional support, both during and after your divorce.
You should seek comfort from your friends and family; don’t be afraid to ask them for a shoulder to cry on, as they’ll be willing to be the person you lean on. It’s also beneficial to see a therapist since they can help you cope effectively with the entire process.
6. Understand Child Custody Laws
If the two of you have children, then it’s essential to understand local child custody laws. What you or your spouse wants may not be compatible with the laws, so you’ll need to set realistic expectations.
You should always prioritize your children’s well-being and try to work out a parenting plan that’s in their best interest. Sometimes, a fair settlement may require compromise, and this is especially true when it involves kids.
7. Update Beneficiaries and Estate Planning
It’s probably been a while since you’ve thought about the beneficiaries on things like your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, wills, trusts, and other assets.
Once you’re divorced, it’s likely you won’t want your ex to be the beneficiary listed for any of these things, so take the vital step to update everything accordingly. This ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Other tasks you’ll need to do include updating your power of attorney, reevaluating your life insurance coverage, updating your advance healthcare directive, and creating a new budget.
8. Explore Mediation
Nobody wants a long and drawn-out divorce; it’s best if both you and your ex can divorce and quickly start the next chapter of your lives. In this case, divorce mediation can be great.
This involves a neutral third party who helps you and your spouse reach agreements. For example, they’ll assist in the division of marital assets, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support. As a result, the process will be much easier, and you can move on faster.
You Should Know How to Protect Yourself in a Divorce
Knowing how to protect yourself in a divorce will always be useful, even if you have the friendliest divorce in history. You need to put you and your children’s interests first, and that’s possible with some smart actions.
However, if you can do mediation, then that’s highly recommended. Divorcing will be less painful, and both of you can walk away with satisfactory results. You won’t have to worry about an exhausting battle in court, so it’ll be a win-win for everyone.
If you feel you’re on the way to divorce with your spouse, then book a quick guidance call with us today. We can help you reach amicable and fair agreements with as little conflict as possible.