Separate amicably

Admittedly, we acknowledge that this might be easier said than done. To begin, a divorce is always easiest and most efficient when the parties make a concerted effort to work together amicably. Before every decision you make, consider the cost of your action. Are you acting in everyone’s best interest? Do your actions impact the welfare of any children? Will you later regret any hastily made decisions?

The first thing to do is hire an attorney right away. The Hills Law Group can answer all of the important questions and make sure that you are informed before you act. You don’t want to make any decisions that you will later regret and having the guidance of our law group behind you will ensure that the decisions you make are the right ones.

Separate at the bank

There are some critical steps to take when separating your financial assets from your spouse. Your first financial priority should be to cancel jointly held bank cards and to protect joint financial accounts. Be sure to do this prior to informing your spouse. Cancel your joint credit cards and then inform your spouse in writing that they have been canceled. The joint debt must be paid, so make sure you address that issue.

Then, take half of each of your joint accounts, transfer them into a separate account, and then be sure to inform your spouse in writing that you have done so. Make sure, again, to arrange for payment of outstanding joint bills. As long as half of the money is rightfully yours, this is not playing against the rules.

Often, couples realize that their relationship is coming to an end long before they decide to go through with a divorce.  Other times, divorce comes as a complete surprise.  Either way, when faced with that prospect, there a multitude of important decisions to make — both emotional and financial — to ensure that you are ready and protected. Using the guidance of a competent family law attorney is the best way in which to make these decisions so that they are made in an informed and fair manner.

Separate at home

Living with a spouse after the decision to divorce can be tense.  However, you may not know that moving out can have a significant impact on the outcome of your custody and parenting timeshare percentage.  These are the types of decisions a good quality family law attorney can help you with.

The children should not be forced to leave their home, as they are, of course, innocent victims of the circumstances.  Both parents should attempt to arrange a time-sharing schedule so that both parents can ensure an equitable custody schedule.  It is important to note that if you agree to less time at the beginning, you can expect less time later. Again, ensuring that you have a qualified family law attorney to advise you on these matters will go a long way in keeping everyone’s best interests in mind.

Be sure to keep in mind that any retirement accounts which were funded during the duration of the marriage contain community property – i.e., it belongs to both spouses.  As such, your spouse will be entitled to some of that money. This includes pensions, IRAs, and 401(k) accounts.  Stop regular contributions. Once you have separated, this money will become your separate property. Taking this step provides you with more liquid assets (available cash) to make up for increased expenses created by a divorce.

Ensure that all valuable personal property — including sentimental items — is protected.  Items that cannot be replaced should be taken out of the home and stored in a safe place. This same adage can be used for firearms, as they have no place in a separating household.  When possible, discuss this with your spouse first in order to avoid any allegations that items have disappeared.

Finally, make copies of all records, separate and joint. This includes deeds, titles, real estate records, bank statements, tax returns, and tax preparation documents. Your attorney will need these documents and ensuring that you have copies early will reduce the need for costly discovery later if the case becomes litigious.

Separating financial assets and property can be a tricky endeavor in the event of an impending divorce. If you are unsure about how to proceed, be sure to seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Separate lifestyles

One of the main pitfalls and frustrations for divorcing couples is the notion that once the parties has moved into a separate home, there are now two households. These two households are still living on one income:  a mortgage and a rent, two sets of utility bills, etc.

It is important to get together with your spouse and decide which expenses you do not need and to start stripping down the expenses until everyone is back on their feet. Personal property can be liquidated, utilities can be canceled, and extra real estate property can be sold. However, community property (property that belongs to both parties) cannot be sold without the consent of both parties. This is why it is important to jointly decide what can be sold and what needs to be subject to adjudication.