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What to Do Before Filing for Divorce

If you're finally ready to make the decision and move forward with divorce, it is important to make sure that you are as prepared as possible before taking the plunge. After all, things will change rapidly once the decision is made, so it is best to get your ducks in a row before filing any papers. But how do you know what to do before filing for divorce? A recent article in Time magazine discussed three of the most basic things everyone should do before revealing their plans to divorce.

The very first thing that the author of the Time article recommends is to begin gathering as many documents as you can. Once the divorce is made public, it may be harder to get your hands on the paperwork you need. After all, you may no longer be in the house, your spouse could change his or her passwords, and a lot of other things could happen that make it much harder to get a hold of detailed information and documentation than it is while you are still married and living together. Waiting until after the divorce has been filed to request documents from your spouse can be a risky proposition, with some spouses choosing to drag their feet on purpose.

The next thing that anyone preparing for a divorce should do is save up money. Though it would be ideal to have enough set aside to cover your attorney's fees and living expenses until the divorce is finalized, that may not be possible. Keep in mind that joint bank accounts listed in both names may not be accessible during the divorce, other than for payment of joint expenses - so you may have trouble getting a hold of money to cover important expenses if you don't have your own accounts. If it's too hard to open accounts and move money without raising red flags, it may also be a good idea to consider opening credit cards with low introductory rates to potentially serve as a backup in case your need for cash becomes desperate.

Finally, you should consider whether to cut or limit all credit links with your spouse immediately before filing for divorce. If you have joint accounts, as many couples do, you need to either try and have your spouse removed as an authorized user or, if that isn't possible, have the account frozen to new charges. This way, you can be protected from having an angry spouse run up a joint credit card, potentially leaving you both on the hook for the charges.

Source: "The 3 Most Important Things to Do Before Announcing You Want a Divorce," by Farnooh Torabi, published at Time.com.

If you have any questions about divorce, contact Attorney Renee Lazar to schedule a free initial consultation.

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