Before filing for divorce, you need to plan your exit strategy.
Divorce is never easy but if you take the time to plan for the future before you file for divorce, you can make it less complicated and minimize the chances of unintended consequences.
Here are some of the things you should consider before filing for divorce.
1. Get Control of Your Finances. When you divorce, marital assets are divided. Instead of you and your spouse sharing expenses for a single household, each of you will have separate household expenses to pay after you are divorced. You should begin by determining what income you have at your disposal and what your fixed monthly expenses will be when you divorce. Give serious thought to what you will need to survive and what expenses can be eliminated or reduced. If you have existing debt, you should try to pay off the debt. Gather all of the financial records you have access to, including paystubs, year end W-2s and 1099s, credit card statement, retirement account statements and bank statement. In most divorces, you will need to provide at least three years of complete statements. If you have access to your spouse's financial records, you should obtain copies of as many accounts as possible.
2. Refocus on Your Priorities. If you have children, they should be your number one priority. You should be attentive to all of their needs, make sure they are up to dat with checkups and annual exams, are attending school every day, are not late to school, have good grades (or attend tutoring if they do not) and that they have healthy extracurricular activities and friendships. As a parent in a divorce, your parenting will be Topic #1 and will be scrutinized like it has never been scrutinized before. Don't take short cuts when it comes to your children. If your children are having difficulties, get them counseling or other help they need now. There are no good excuses for not putting your children's needs first. And never, ever burden your children with negative talk about your spouse. If you don't have children, you should be focusing on your employment, finances and getting yourself healthy. If you have drug or alcohol issues, address them. Judges routinely test parties for drugs and alcohol usage and testing can detect drug and alcohol usage for the preceding four months. All of your activities a nd spending will be examined under a microscope. In a divorce, your life is an open book. And as tempting as it may be, now is not the time to start a new relationship. A good counselor is a much better investment than a new relationship.
3. Safeguard Your Digital Footprint. Your digital footprint is more than your email password. These days, every phone, car, IPAD, app and electronic device we use leaves a digital footprint. Giving your spouse access to your personal information is a recipe for trouble in a divorce. Protect your privacy and be smart before filing for divorce. Make sure your spouse does not have access to your information and accounts and protect your privacy as if your life depended upon it.
4. Avoid Social Media. Most of us are addicted to the regular social media updates we get from friends and family and many of us regularly publish photos, thoughts, concerns and questions on social media. Social media is not your friend in a divorce. Your spouse will have access to every one of your social media posts and anything you say and do can be used against you. Even seemingly private, direct messages are discoverable by your spouse. It is never appropriate to talk about your divorce in social media. And don't use social media to garner sympathy for your marital woes. Keep your marriage to yourself and your closest family members and friends.
5. Mind Your Ps and Qs. You may want to vent all of your frustrations and let your spouse know what a low down dirty scoundrel he or she is but now is not the time. Don't scream, don't text and don't email everything you are thinking about your spouse. Assume that everything you say and do will be shared with the Judge in your case. Monitor your behavior and avoid telling your spouse off. Neither one of you will benefit from knock down drag out fights and giving your spouse a piece of your mind could severely undermine your position in divorce. Avoid damaging your spouses' personal belongings or trying to say or do things to hurt your spouse. Hold your tongue and get a counselor if you need to dump on someone and make sure your communications and conduct with your spouse are cordial. Judges reward good behavior and don't like to see vicious spiteful behavior
Taking the time to plan for your divorce and do things the right way will pay off in the long run. Talk to our experienced Georgia divorce lawyers for more information and strategic planning ideas.
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