A Portland divorce lawyer will tell you that a divorce is something you should not only prepare for mentally and emotionally, but logistically as well. Ideally, you and your partner will have an amicable divorce, but taking steps to protect yourself and your interests is just smart. Below are several important things you should consider doing before you enter into divorce proceedings.
Hire an experienced Portland divorce lawyer. There’s a reason this one comes first on the list. Hiring a divorce attorney immediately means that you have more time to prepare with a professional who can help you to build your case. A good divorce attorney will also be able to expand on this list and tell you what you need to do in your specific circumstances.
Save up or set aside money. Divorce can be expensive. You’re going to need to pay your divorce attorney, of course, but there are a number of other expenses that could come up, including moving expenses if you end up needing to leave your home and get an apartment. An experienced Portland divorce lawyer can also examine the joint accounts you hold with your spouse and tell you what you are entitled to immediately—not after the divorce. Generally speaking, withdrawing 50% of the funds in your joint savings to pay for living expenses and costs associated with the divorce is considered acceptable.
Open individual accounts. You’ll need somewhere to put that money you withdraw from your joint account, so set up a bank account that’s only in your name. This also applies to email and cell phone. You want ways for people to contact you that your spouse doesn’t have access to. And if you don’t have one already, opening a credit card that only you have access to is a good idea as well. Speaking of which:
Cancel all joint credit cards. While this is hopefully not something that will happen in your case, it’s not unheard of for one spouse to run up credit bills and try to hold their partner liable. Canceling as many joint liabilities and lines of credit you can protects you. Just to be safe, have your credit report monitored by a company just in case you missed something and your spouse does become vindictive.
Keep paying bills. Ideally, you want to sell off as much joint property as you can to avoid headaches, but for some things that just won’t be possible. Because of this, make sure you contact companies that handle any loans (cars, home) or other bills and have a duplicate copy sent to you. You don’t want your credit ruined because your spouse decides to be spiteful and stop paying.
These are just a few steps you can take. Check back soon for Part 2 with more tips or call our offices to talk to an experienced Portland divorce lawyer.