If you are considering a divorce, or even if you have already begun the process, the holiday season may have transformed from a festive time to a potential minefield. We understand the toll that special occasions have on someone already in a difficult situation. Christmas, birthdays, even Halloween and major sporting events, can be greatly impacted by the end of a relationship and legal proceedings.
Whether or not your separation is during the holidays, you have initiated divorce proceedings, you have informed your spouse of your intentions, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself:
- Be prepared. It is best to make arrangements before your spouse is aware of your intentions. Be tactful and don’t raise suspicion, but take the steps necessary to prevent your spouse from complicating proceedings. Even if you have already notified your spouse, it’s never too late to build your case.
- Create a detailed inventory or all possessions, including paperwork. Make a list, take pictures, and, if you are able, make a video recording.
- Obtain financial information. Locate and copy documentation of bank accounts, investments, retirement funds, etc. Do not deprive your spouse of information that they are entitled to as well, but ensure that you have the paperwork that you may need to verify assets.
- Review purchases. As you are collecting financial information, review bank and credit card statements to ascertain if there may be unknown assets.
- Do not vacate your home. Even if you intend to sign over the house or if your spouse tells you to leave, you should not. The house is yours as well and you are free to live there until a formal agreement is in place. Your attorney should help ensure you have everything you may need before you move out.
- Be there for your children. In most cases, the court will attempt to preserve the family routine as much as possible. This means that if you have been the primary caregiver during the marriage and the separation, you will likely be the primary caregiver after the divorce.
- Document your spouse’s activity. Notate the date and occurrence of any activity that may impact your divorce proceedings, such as the sale of property. This is especially important for custody agreements. Document your spouse’s interaction and visits with your child leading up to and during the separation.
Many people choose not to tell their spouse about their intentions for divorce until after the holidays have passed. This is understandable, especially if there are children involved, but just remember, there is no perfect time. If you are struggling to determine the next step, call the law office of Scott M. Schweiger at 513-489-0881. Let us be a reliable resource during this trying time.