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Whether you’re getting a no fault or a fault-based divorce, in both situations it’s important to protect yourself before, during and afterwards. This includes knowing your rights regarding marital property, debts, child support, and spousal support. You may feel like your hands are tied, but remember, knowledge is power.

Here are our tips for protecting yourself while getting a divorce:

  • If you’re getting a no fault divorce, it’s important to treat your spouse with dignity and respect throughout the process. If you get angry at your spouse, it can turn your affordable, no fault divorce into an expensive proceeding.
  • Before you file for divorce, consult with an attorney. We also recommend meeting with your accountant to discuss tax issues, retirement accounts, investments, business valuations, stocks, etc.
  • Think about the timing of your divorce. Is your spouse due for a big bonus or raise? You may want to wait until they receive it before you file. Otherwise, they could argue that it qualifies as their separate property.
  • If you’ve been married for almost 10 years, stick it out until the 10-year mark. This allows you to get more of your ex’s Social Security.
  • When you decide to get a divorce, be the one to file first. There are advantages to this.
  • To ensure you’re in the best position, put your name on all bank accounts, investments, utilities and deeds of trust – things that require joint signatures. This protects you from your spouse raiding the bank accounts.
  • Do you know where every penny is? If not, you need to track down the assets, such as bank accounts, jewelry, real estate, retirement accounts, investments, etc. Though spouses must disclose their assets in a divorce, too many of them try to hide them. Remember, you get half or a portion of what’s out there.
  • From this day forward, you must be proactive about safeguarding your credit. Do not co-sign on anything for your spouse.
  • If you’ve been out of the workforce, dust off your resume. Even if you end up with spousal support, it’s only temporary.

Related: No Fault Divorce Saves Money, Time & Heartache

For more divorce advice, contact Cairns Law Offices to schedule a free case evaluation.

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