What Steps Should I Take Before Divorce?
At Miller Law Group, P.C., we like to say that divorce doesn’t begin when you or your spouse files the paperwork. Divorce begins when either of you begins to think about getting divorced. The first step you should take if you or your spouse are considering divorce is to contact us so we can file first. Filing first can put you in the driver’s seat and help your attorney develop a clear plan from the get-go. The first important issue to focus on is making sure you talk to your attorney first. Find out what his or her strategy is relating to your case because strategy and facts are key.
Steps in a Massachusetts Divorce
First, you want to make sure that you can best protect your children.
- Where are they going to live once you and your spouse split?
- What are the daily routines going to be?
- Who is going to pick up and who’s going to drop off?
- How are you going to handle extracurricular activities?
Focus on the children.
Second, take pictures or videos. Go all around your house. Film all your property and get evidence of any holes in the wall or any proof of issues relating to your spouse’s temper. Walk all around the house, open the closets, and take pictures. It's important that you gather critical documents. Before your spouse finds out, it’s a good time to gather tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, mortgage information, and any kind of compensation agreements, because once the word’s out, some of these things might be missing.
Get a P.O. box so your mail can come to you. Check in with a therapist. Try to get your hands on cash because it might be a while before you have access to it and you have to take care of your family. Also on that note, stop contributing to retirement accounts or retirement plans at work. Since you are going to have to split your retirement with your spouse, you’re going to want to stop contributing to it because half of what you contribute is going to be going to the other party. Hold off on retirement plan contributions, which will also give you more on each paycheck, which you’re going to need. And the last one: secure some credit. If your spouse has it all, you’re being held hostage.
Before divorce, you may also want to consider the following:
- Start collecting documentation on things like finances, properties, insurance, retirement plans, etc.
- Set aside things that you know you are the sole owner of (separate property).
- Monitor your interactions on social media. What you say about your spouse, whether direct or indirect, can come back to haunt you.
- Be wary of dating before your divorce is finalized, as this can affect the court’s opinion of your character.
- If you see divorce more as a possibility than a future reality, consider marital counseling before you take more drastic measures.