1. Talk to a marriage counselor. Divorce is not easy on anyone. If you don’t know a counselor call our office and we can refer you to someone that can help. Do this even if your spouse doesn’t want to go with you. Also, think about talking with a pastor.
2. Consult with an attorney. There are a number of things that are affected just by you moving out of your home. Contact our office at (704) 865-9011 to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. You don’t want to move out or take action only to find out you have waived your rights.
3. Think about your finances. Do you have a credit card in your name? Do you have access to a bank account? These are things you may want to do before you move out. Also make copies of all financial records and important papers (birth certificates, bank statements, tax returns) while you have access to them.
4. Find out your spouses income. You need to know as much as possible about how much your spouse makes and when he/she is paid. If you and your spouse own a business make copies of all of the account information you can get access to.
5. Don’t move out of the marital home. You don’t want to move out of the home before talking with an attorney. Moving out of the home might have implications on alimony. You also aren’t likely to be able to move back into the home until a judge determines property issues which in some counties may take up to one year.
6. Understand your debt situation. Is there a mortgage on your house? How much is it? How much is your house worth on the market today if you had to sale it? Do you own cars or lease them? How much is owed on each and what is the value of each car? Do either you or your spouse have credit cards? How much is on each of them?
7. Have a plan for how you will support yourself when you leave. If you are a stay at home parent this is especially important to you. Talk to an attorney and find out if you are entitled to alimony. Find out how much child support you might be able to get. Ask how long it will take for money to start coming in. Have a plan for getting a job.
8. If you have children stay involved in their activities. Have you been especially busy at work lately? Make time to attend school events. Drive your children to or from school. Find out who their doctors are and who their friends and teachers are. Be an involved parent.
9. Don’t spill your guts about any affairs. It may seem like a good time to come clean but it isn’t. Adultery can be considered by a judge when deciding issues of alimony.
10. Plan your exit. If you have decided that a divorce is what you want make sure you protect your assets when you move out. Close joint checking accounts, take your spouses name or your name off of credit cards, change the names on the utility bills, and take any cherished personal items (heirlooms, yearbooks, photos) with you when you leave.