Plan Ahead for Divorce
Perhaps your marriage has been on the rocks for some time, and you’ve decided on obtaining a divorce. While this can be an emotionally-heated time, there are steps you should take even before filing for divorce that can help ensure that you’re prepared for the process and financially protected.
- Begin to gather financial documents: Before filing for divorce, be sure to locate copies of all your important financial records, including credit card statements, loan documents, bank statements, tax returns, paycheck stubs, title documents, investment and retirement account statements, and insurance statements. Finding these records as early as possible helps to ensure that they don’t disappear before you need them.
- Determine which property is separate: While you’re gathering financial documents, start thinking about which property is your separate property (meaning, it should not be divided in the divorce, but should only belong to you). For example, separate property could include an item or home you owned outright prior to the marriage, or an inheritance you received from a family member which you kept separate from your marital accounts. Begin thinking about how you can prove that these items are separate, and gather account statements or purchase documents that will help you do so.
- Create a separate checking account: Many couples share joint accounts during their marriage. In order to ensure you have access to money when you need it, open a separate account to which only you have access. You may wish to withdraw a portion of the funds from your joint accounts, but speak with your attorney before doing so, as laws protecting joint marital funds may apply.
- Begin saving for divorce-related expenses, and open your own credit card: Between the costs of an experienced divorce attorney and those of setting up a new, separate home, divorce can be an expensive process. Begin saving for it as early as possible, to eliminate some of the stress of the process. In order to have a backup plan in case funds run low, the months before you file for divorce could be a good time to open a new, separate credit card. This allows you to take advantage of your current credit score before the potential toll taken by a divorce, and, if most accounts were in your spouse’s name during your marriage, allows you to begin to establish your own credit history.
- Check your credit score, and consider purchasing credit monitoring services; many spouses discover during a divorce that their spouse made purchases or opened lines of credit without their knowledge. Additionally, some scorned spouses may make large expenditures from joint accounts during a divorce out of spite. Be sure to check your credit report early, and consider investing in credit monitoring to limit the effects of such charges.
- Speak with an attorney as soon as possible: Consulting with a Kentucky divorce attorney early on in the process can help ensure you’re well-prepared for a divorce, and will offer you the peace of mind of knowing your case is in good hands.
For trustworthy, dedicated legal assistance with your Kentucky divorce, contact the Louisville family law attorneys at Gwin, Steinmetz & Baird for a consultation, at 502-618-5700.