Were do I start?
Whether you are thinking about getting a divorce, have decided on it, or are already in the process, here are a few things that you will need to think about and start gathering.
- DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE. Make your spouse file for divorce from bed and board. Your leaving the home can show abandonment, and makes it more difficult for you to ever move back into the marital home.
- 50Bs: A 50B is the easiest way for your spouse to get you out of the marital home. This means NO arguing, fighting, throwing lamps, and record everything if you need to.
- Start to inventory your finances.
- Clean out joint accounts. Any joint accounts should be moved into a new bank account in the same manner. Ie. If you have a joint checking account, move it to the new bank as a checking account. Do not make any unusual withdrawals from those accounts. Should you need money for normal expenses (groceries, gas, etc.) you may take it out of the new accounts.
- Remove access to debt. To keep your spouse from giving you debt it is important to freeze any accounts he may have access to. This would apply to equity in the home, if you cannot remove your spouse’s access, freeze the account or take the money out and put in a separate account. If you have credit cards under your name, remove your spouse’s name.
- Open a P.O. Box. Reroute all mail to the P.O. Box.
- Change your passwords to everything.
- Move any small items (or sentimental items) in your home to a safety deposit box or a friend’s home for safe keeping.
- Begin an Equitable Distribution inventory.
- Take pictures of the home. This will provide proof of everything in the home so that your spouse cannot later claim property does not exist.
- Print off any financial information. Any access you have to your spouse’s financial information should be compiled. This includes pay stubs, income, and anything else you can obtain discreetly.
- Make copies of utility bills.
- Begin to think about marital misconduct on the part of your spouse. Marital misconduct will include behavior such as cheating, abuse, drug addiction or abandonment.
- If your spouse’s car is marital property, you can put a tracking device on it.
One of the best ways to keep track of this information in a file or a diary. If your spouse is cheating, abusing you or your children, using illicit drugs, or abusing alcohol, it will also be useful to notate in your file or diary the date, time, and behavior you have observed.