How To Protect Yourself In A Divorce
Divorce can impact every aspect of your life. Taking the right precautions can help you protect your relationships, your finances and your future.
At The Law Office of Marjorie Sher, I help clients in Lake County navigate the divorce process and protect the things that they value most. I offer comprehensive advice to help you address every way that divorce can impact your life and help you make informed choices at every stage of the process.
What Steps Can You Take To Protect Your Finances?
Cancel all joint credit cards. Although you may not be able to cancel the card without paying the debt in full, you should notify the company that you do not wish any more charges to be placed on the card.
Contact brokerage companies. Write to your broker to notify them about your separation and ask them not to make any transactions without your approval.
Obtain your own credit card and bank account. To establish a pattern of good credit, open your own credit card and bank account. Do not deposit money into a joint account unless your spouse is doing the same.
Gather as much financial information as you can. Receiving your fair share during property division often depends on understanding both your money and your debts. Collect account statements, billing statements, credit card statements and copies of messages to credit card and brokerage companies. This can also help you identify whether your spouse is hiding funds.
Obtain a free credit report from https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. This report will help you identify debt about which you might be unaware. It is important to allocate this debt during your divorce, otherwise you may be solely responsible for the payment of the same.
Time your divorce properly. If you have been married to your spouse for ten years, you may be eligible for benefits from your ex-spouses Social Security benefits when you both reach age 62. You should also be aware of how your divorce will impact your tax obligations, for instance you can only file a tax returned as married/joint if you are married on December 31st of that tax year. Lastly, depending on whether you will be the payor or the recipient of maintenance, you may wish to file for divorce before or after your twentieth anniversary, as if you have been married for greater than twenty years maintenance can be for an indefinite (permanent) length of time.
Freeze your credit so that additional debt cannot be obtained. In order to freeze your credit, contact all 3 nationwide credit reporting companies. Inform the customer service agent that you want a credit freeze. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and perhaps other personal information.
Call Equifax at 1-800-349-9960 https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp.
Call Experian at 1‑888‑397‑3742 or visit https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html.
Call TransUnion at 1-888-909-8872 or visit https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Your Family?
If there is violence in the home, obtain an order of protection. An order of protection will provide you with relief during the otherwise lengthy process of divorce. This order can have your spouse removed from the home, grant one party possession of the children, set a parenting time schedule, award support and establish other remedies.
If you have children, keep a journal. Parenting time and allocation of decision making often hinge on who was the primary caretaker of the children. Document details about their daily care, including who wakes the children, makes them breakfast, takes them to their school and doctor appointments. You should also note any discussions you have with your children and any fights you have with your spouse.
Do not involve your children. Do not put your children in the middle of conversations or arguments between you and your spouse.
Seek Additional Guidance From An Experienced Attorney
Each person’s situation is unique, and working with an attorney can help you create a legal strategy that reflects your unique needs and protects your rights. To discuss your needs with an experienced attorney, reach out to my firm online or call 847-249-2830 to schedule an initial, no-cost consultation.