How to Prepare For a Divorce
- Make copies of all your important financial records (statements from all individual and joint accounts for both parties) going back at least three years including but not limited to: checking and savings account statements with canceled checks; money market accounts; certificate(s) of deposit; mutual funds; brokerage accounts; stocks; bonds; 401(k)s and other retirement accounts; IRAs; pensions and annuities; etc.
- Make copies of your Federal and state income tax returns including W2s and 1099s including all individual and joint returns by both yourself and your spouse. If your spouse has a business which is a corporation do not forget to make copies of the form 1120S Federal income tax returns for an S corporation if applicable.
- Locate your important documents for both yourself and your children and put them in a safe place that your spouse does not have access to including but not limited to: your marriage certificate; passport(s); health insurance cards; birth certificate(s); life insurance policies; etc.
- Make sure you have complete information regarding any benefits you or your children may be entitled to under any health and dental insurance particularly if you are covered under a group policy provided by your spouse's employer.
- Make copies of all of the monthly statements for the past three years from all of the credit cards used by both you and your spouse for all accounts regardless of whether it is an individual or joint account.
- Make sure that you have a checking and savings account in your name alone. If you do not have one then open one even if you are not going to be using right now.
- If you are not already knowledgably regarding your family finances make sure that your familairize yourself with your basic expenses such as the amount of your montly mortgage payment, car payment(s), utility bills, credit cards, debts, etc.
- If do not have one already make sure that you have a private email address other than a work email that your spouse does not know the password to.
- If you are able make a copy of one of your spouse's recent pay stubs.
- If you do not already have one make sure you have a credit card in your name alone that is not joint with you spouse.
- Consult with an attorney that concentrates in divorce and family law to get a better idea as to how the divorce process works and what you can expect if your spouse files for divorce.
- Talk with several divorce and family law attorneys in order to get and idea as to who would retain if you had to hire a lawyer on short notice.
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