My own research tells me that March is the month for divorce filings as the “New Year, New Me” resolutions kick into gear. For those of you seeking an end to your marriage, here are some proactive measures you can take that can help you get your fair share of the assets in the breakup as well as reduce your legal fees:
1) Gather key documents. Once a divorce has been initiated, getting key financial information can become difficult. Gather copies of any documents that verify assets, liabilities, income and expenses. These documents include bank, brokerage and retirement statements, tax returns and property deeds. Copies of bills for the home will be helpful to have if you are leaving the home. Credit card statements as close in time to when you leave are a must have. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets or debt, keep an eye out for unusual withdrawals from existing accounts and take pictures of envelopes from unknown banks or brokerages (rather than opening them).
2) You will need cash reserves. Stop spending money if you have your own account. If all of your money is commingled and you have no way of opening a checking account without raising red flags, then I suggest opening a credit card with a low or introductory 0% interest rate. This step is important because if you are lucky and you and your spouse can agree, a divorce will take 3-6 months. If you are unlucky, a divorce can take well over 2 years.
Divorce is expensive, so make sure this is something that you want to do. If it is something you want to do, please contact the Law Offices of Lance T. Marshall for an initial consultation at (814) 308-8439 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.