3 Critical Tips for Divorce:
If divorce is likely, you have to protect yourself, your children, and your assets. Here are three critical tips to improve your outcome in the process:
1. Protect the evidence.
You absolutely need to make copies of all your financial documents from tax returns to your spouse's 401k information. Copy the pay stubs and bank statements. Find out where the money is coming from and where it is going. In a Missouri divorce, you will have to file a Statement of Marital Assets and Debts, so take this time before you file to document property and estimated value. Write it all down from towels to the '67 Vette in the garage. Make sure you have some method of recording calls – if you are in a single party state like Missouri. And don't delete any text messages – there is a great app: PrintTextMessages that will print and save the entire text thread. Just remember to be nice and courteous on those texts and calls as if someone was going to read them to the judge – because someone is going to read them to a judge.
2. Financial planning.
Don't forget that credit is an important part of your financial future. If one of you is going to keep the house, then that spouse will have to make an equalization payment for the equity and refinance the property. Pull your credit report for both you and your spouse. If you don't have any credit in your name alone, start getting some. Also, set up a separate checking account in your name alone. This account will be outside the reach of your spouse. Regardless of what happens in the divorce, this will give you some personal freedom. You may want to start setting aside enough money for living expenses and for hiring an attorney. Remember: a good divorce attorney is cheaper than a bad marriage.
3. Make a safety plan for you and the kids.
Divorce brings out a lot of emotions. You will grieve and your spouse will grieve. You know how your spouse reacts to stress. You need to plan accordingly. Set up a safety plan. If you are scared your spouse will hurt you or the kids then you need to discuss this with your attorney at the first meeting and plan to protect them and yourself. Hopefully it will not be needed, but having planned for options gives you the ability to react quickly and appropriately when necessary.
If you are considering divorce in Missouri, please contact Nolan Law Firm, LLC to engage in a strategy session to assist you in planning for and executing your divorce.
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