Whether your spouse announced it to you or you stumbled on the information, your spouse’s decision to file for divorce may be shocking, confusing and perhaps frightening. Even if the decision is not entirely unexpected, you know you are still facing some major life changes, and it is likely you are not sure how to prepare yourself.
While you may prefer to block it all out or get it over with quickly, you may do yourself a great disservice if you fail to take immediate steps to protect your rights and your fair share of marital assets. Many in Texas and elsewhere struggle for months or years after a divorce, especially if they have not taken the appropriate steps at the beginning of the process or even sooner.
Protecting your rights while remaining civil
Despite the heavy emotions that come with a divorce, the legal issues typically revolve around money and assets in addition to those difficult decisions you will make if you have children. The decisions that occur in a divorce can affect you and your family for many years to come, so it is wise to put aside your emotions long enough to take care of some important matters, such as the following:
- Figuring out how much total income you and your spouse make individually
- Making an inventory of all assets and determining which are joint property and which you own separately
- Protecting your savings and investment accounts by asking the institution to require signatures from both you and your spouse before withdrawing funds
- Closing all your joint credit accounts so your spouse cannot charge more debt that you may end up paying for
- Obtaining copies of your credit reports for a full picture of your debt load and monitoring those reports for changes your spouse may make
If you have children, it may be in everyone’s best interests for you and your spouse to remain civil throughout the process. In this way, you may be better able to arrive at critical decisions about how to discuss the divorce with your kids and how to settle their custody and support issues with minimal disruption to their lives.
Divorce involves complex legal proceedings, and untangling your life from your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s can be difficult, even if you know what you want. Luckily, resources are available for gaining helpful information on how to dissolve your marriage smoothly.