10 Must-do’s before you file for divorce

Plan your escape

As soon as you know the marriage is over and you want to file, start planning then. Don’t wait until you file. Even if it turns out that you reconcile and the love returns you can always ditch the plan. However, you want to be prepared if the divorce does happen. Know who your support will be. Discuss things with them. Know where you will live. If you plan to get a clean break and move, know where you want to go and start looking for jobs there. Consider how it will affect your children and look into ways to help them down the road. Think about the little things like if you will need new transportation, a new wardrobe if you’re entering the work force again, updating your resume, reeducating yourself, collecting evidence about your spouse, and the list goes on. One of the biggest pre-planning items would be finding a solid attorney to guide you through the process. The main thing is to plan and do all these things before the stress hits after filing and everything becomes like walking on eggshells.


Travel the high road

That means practice your P’s and Q’s in public and at home. Nice words don’t hurt you in court! That also means don’t date for now or date discreetly. Now days everyone should assume they are being filmed. You don’t want pictures of weak moments or moments of ill repute hitting the web for all to see. Stay clear of parties, bars, strip clubs, cheap motels and the like. Stay off Facebook unless it is posting pictures of you and your kids.  Your kids have to be the focus. Spend quality time with them and help them through this difficult time of transition. Do positive things like taking them to the park or movies, go to the gym, go to church, go to the library, go to plays, etc.


Record your travels

It’s just a clever mind game here. When you are leading up to filing for a divorce, there often are arguments, fights, threats, and lots of dirty hurtful language. Again, taking the high road and not doing that yourself, you want to audio record as much conversation as possible. It will help prove in court what you have been saying about the abusive behavior from your spouse. It will also show you in a good light. Remember though, you can only legally record conversations you are a part of.


Don’t Let Emotions Lead You

There will be many moments of pain and bad memories that fill you with rage. DON’T let that momentary thought decide your lengthy future by doing something stupid and rash. Selling the family home might be needed. Getting your lawyer to spend hours arguing to get a worthless coffee table or lamp for you may cost you an extra 1000 in the end. Is it worth it? Typing that threatening text or getting caught on audio tape saying I wish you were dead will come back to haunt you. Control your emotions. Don’t let them lead you down a bad road. Martial arts training is not about kicking someone’s but, it is all apart control.


Spend Big Before

Whether it’s a boat, a car or a vacation home, buy before you file! Why? Because your spouse and their attorney would surely fight any new purchases once you file. In fact many spouses often lock the other out of the accounts or they drain all money from accounts when the other spouse files. Many states will automatically issue a restraining order preventing any major financial changes (liquidating accounts, large purchases, large cash withdrawals) until the divorce can be finalized.

*A small caveat to this would be to also make several small cash withdrawals for the months leading up to filing so it appears normal and you can secretly store up cash for expenditures you don’t want your spouse to know about, say like a P.I.


Establish Credit in Your Own Name

I have seen too many women get in real trouble when the divorce is done. They have messed up joint credit and many have no real credit history of their own because of controlling husbands. Almost any person, job or not, can find a credit card offer on line and have one in the mail in less than a week. Make sure it is in your name and send it to a family member’s address, preferably one you lived at before.

Of course be responsible about it and use it sparingly. Pay the bill every month and try not to get behind.  Your goal is to establish a high credit score for yourself that will help you down the road to purchase a car or a house. The goal is not to have a great wardrobe, a new boat or 5 of the same outfit.


Collect Evidence Before you file

Know where all the accounts are. Know what credit cards he has. Know if he has any land or other property on the side. If you are not sure a P.I. can help find that information for you.  If you can find old loan applications they often list financial information. Take pictures of everything! All assets like art, jewelry, collector items, antiques, etc. Copy bank statements. If you share a phone plan print any threatening texts, shrewd comments and phone statements showing contact with certain people.


If Your Lawyer Recommends a PI – DO IT!

When trying to prove cheating, abusive behavior that someone is working and how much, that someone has hidden bank accounts, that someone is into dangerous hobbies or lifestyles, or just that someone pays no attention to their kids you can do no wrong hiring a private detective. Many people recoil at paying for a private investigator in a divorce process. However, sometimes, well often actually, investigators are able to uncover evidence that helps tip the scales in your favor. Sometimes a P.I. is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Over the years I have seen many times where spending a little now can save a ton down the road or make you a ton more than you would have had. It can also be the difference between partial and full custody.


Educate before you vacate

Maybe you’re a stay at home mom or maybe you’re just working and never finished your degree. If your dependent on a spouse prior to filing and you think you will need to work again after the divorce get all the training and education in that you can before you file. After the divorce, in most cases, both spouses will be working even if that was not the case before. You don’t want to be left in a lurch having to pay for education all by yourself and working a less than desirable job due to inadequate education.


Don’t Hide Assets

Stashing some cash on grocery day by taking extra bucks out of the debit card is one thing. Trying to hide known, major assets will be self-defeating down the road. In the end it will be found and you will look like a crook in court. That will most assuredly prejudice the judge or jury against you.  Many times a judge can impose financial penalties against you. To protect yourself and your property during a divorce, it’s best to declare all assets upfront.


Of course, as always, hope this helps someone. Should you need help finding information or an attorney, we would be happy to help. You can go to our website and connect with us by email or phone. http://paladinpipro.com/contact-us/