You may feel ready to begin your separation period, but there are many legal and financial issues to consider first. Before you officially become separated, there are a few things you should do to prepare for a divorce.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce laws are complicated and every case is unique. You should know what to expect by asking a divorce lawyer the following questions:
- How long is the divorce process in North Carolina?
- What are the steps in the divorce process?
- How are the assets and debts going to be divided? What about alimony?
- How are child custody and child support determined?
You are going to have to face each of these issues at some point during your divorce. By learning a little about them before you start your separation, you can prepare yourself and avoid making some big mistakes.
Protect Your Finances
You are still technically married while you are separated. You may have joint bank accounts and lines of credit that your spouse can still access. You could be considered legally responsible for these debts or unable to prevent your spouse from withdrawing all the funds from your joint account.
It may be a good idea to open your own checking account and credit card account. You may also want to freeze your joint credit accounts or withdraw funds and place them in your separate accounts.
However, you need to be careful not to go overboard. Your spouse has a right to some of your joint assets, too. If you withdraw all the money from your joint accounts and put it in your separate account, a judge may not look favorably on your actions. Protect your personal finances while still respecting your spouse’s right to the marital assets.
If you don’t qualify to file your taxes as a single taxpayer, you may want to file separately during your separation to avoid being held accountable for your spouse’s tax debt.
Your spouse will be required to disclose his or her financial information during the divorce, but it doesn’t hurt to have this information for your personal records. You may want to get copies of all of the following information:
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Retirement account statements
- Mortgage statements
- Credit card bills
- Other debts
- Real estate records
- Business records
Follow these steps to protect your interests during the divorce process. Contact a divorce attorney to learn more about what to expect during your separation and divorce.
At King Law Offices, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our multiple office locations throughout North and South Carolina.