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What should you do when preparing for divorce? Every case is unique, but there are several steps everyone should consider:
1. Speak to an attorney. Whichever spouse contacts a lawyer first will have a distinct advantage in early divorce proceedings. Whether you are considering filing for divorce or your spouse has recently demanded a divorce, an attorney can offer invaluable advice. Also, consider speaking with a counselor or trusted friend if your most pressing issues are emotional ones.
2. Gather your financial records. The importance of controlling your financial information cannot be overstated. Collect your income tax returns, current year-end brokerage statements, a recent pay statement, an employee benefits summary and a joint financial statement, if possible. If you cannot get copies of these records, it is possible to secure them during the discovery process — but the sooner you and your attorney have them the better.
3. Begin saving money. In Franklin County and the surrounding communities, it can take up to eight weeks to get a court order for alimony and child support. If you are not the primary breadwinner in the marriage, it can be difficult to make ends meet while waiting for the court to order the support you need. Tracking your expenses and saving money before filing for divorce can give you financial security and peace of mind.
4. Open new accounts in your name only. Once divorce proceedings begin, there can be disputes over joint assets, including checking and savings accounts. Your attorney may instruct you to withdraw money from shared accounts, and you will need somewhere to put it. As your living situation changes, you may need access to your money on short notice.
5. Update your estate plan. If you are considering divorce, you likely do not want your spouse collecting on your will or life insurance policy. Our lawyers are experienced in both family law and estate planning, which means we can help you update the necessary documents and protect your financial future.
Contact Amy M. Levine & Associates
For effective advice and counsel before and during divorce, we encourage you to contact us for a consultation. Please call our Columbus, Ohio, office at 614-360-2942.