There are several steps you can take during an uncontested divorce to protect yourself. Though your divorce may be "amicable", it's wise to take measures ahead of time to safe guard yourself and your property. We are talking about your personal property, not jointly owned or marital property. So, don't start hiding jointly owned property, or you can easily set yourself up for a contested divorce - meaning more time, money, hassles, and stress before your Pennsylvania divorce can be finalzed.
Keep a daily journal. This may sound like an imposition with everything else going on, but will come in handy later on should you need it. Address each entry to your attorney. Should your spouse try to subpoena your journal, this will make it harder since it could be considered privileged communication between you and your lawyer. That being said, keep your journal in a safe place. If it's on your computer, then use a password that only you know in order to get into your computer. Remember to record only the facts, this is especially important if your spouse tries to use the journal against you. Some of the items you want to include in your daily journal are:
1. Bills you have paid;
2. Money you have give to your spouse and/or children;
3. Time you have spent with your child(ren);
4. Any item which you feel is important to your divorce;
5. Arguments with your spouse;
6. Significant events;
7. Telephone calls; and
Record all of the property in your home. Walk through your house and take pictures and/or videotape each item in each room. Don't forget to turn on the date on your camera or video camera. Think of items which not only have a monetary value, but also a sentimental value. Some of the items to include in your inventory are: jewelry, clothes, furniture, antiques and electronics. Remember to record items in your attic, basement and detached structures such as a shed. If something is missing later on, this will serve as evidence to its existence in your home. You may want to store the pictures or videos in your private safety deposit box in order to make sure it's not subject to being tampered with by your spouse.
Reduce your bills. Meet right away with your spouse and see how you can cut down on your bills. This would include extra phone lines, perks such as caller id, cable, shopping around for cheaper insurance and call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate.
Secure your personal documents. Move your documents such as: birth certificate, passport, diplomas to a trusted friend's home or get a safe deposit box in your name only. For communal documents such as tax forms and bank records make a copy and add the copy to your safe stash of documents.
Start establishing your own credit. Get a credit card in your name only and start building up your own credit rating. Be prudent when using the card. You may want to initially store it in your safety deposit box as well. It can be a good backup source of funds if an emergency arises, as well.
Once you've taken the above steps to protect yourself, you're ready to file for an uncontested divorce. Contact Attorney James Cairns for a free consultation at 888.8636.9115.
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