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Divorce Planning

by | Nov 25, 2016

A frequently asked question when contemplating divorce is: “What kinds of things should I be doing if I am planning to file a divorce?”   Our advice would include considering the following and more:

  1. It is always wise to obtain marriage counseling whether it is from a private state certified marriage counselor or your own advisor or religious representative.  In some instances you may consult your physician, or a mental health specialist.
  1. Make sure your finances are secure, joint bank accounts may be closed and reopened in your name only, depending on the circumstances.  You may wish to take certain items from the vault and place them in the custody of a trusted third person or open a vault of your own.  Try to get both keys to the jointly held box.
  1. Gather all important documents such as your marriage license, wills, trusts, passport, automobile titles, birth certificates, copies of income tax records, bank books, stock certificates, deeds, important letters and other papers that you consider may have value.
  1. Make a list of your assets held jointly with your spouse, those in your name only and those held in your spouse’s name only.  List inherited property.
  1. Use joint funds to repair your automobile, your home or equipment in the home.  The repairs should be of a necessary nature and not frivolous.  If you must replace such items as your washer or dryer, be certain it is absolutely necessary.  The above suggestions are only for the person who believes they are going to receive these items at the end of the divorce.
  1. Get medical checkups for yourself and your children.  Have necessary dental work done as well as medical repairs.
  1. Get necessary clothes for yourself and children from jointly held funds.  Pay up tuitions and attempt to get a governmental sponsored tuition plan.
  1. Consider paying up all charges and credit card debt that are in your name or for which you may be held liable.  This is to be paid from joint funds.
  1. Do not sign any documents for your spouse which may make you financially liable.
  1. Apply for credit cards in your own name as well as a checking account in your own name.  Establish credit lines.
  1. Get passports for the children and put them in a safe secure place, if you are afraid your spouse may abduct your children.  It would be wise to have your children fingerprinted and keep records of your children’s medical and dental files.  It is also wise to record in your files your spouse’s auto license, social security number and driver’s license number, and some recent pictures of your children.
  1. If you and your spouse will continue to live in the same residence after suit is started, it may be proper to get your own post office box and a bank safety deposit vault for your important records.
  1. It may be necessary for you to set aside cash reserves in a place you have ready access to that will provide spending money for you and the children during the early period of your divorce actions.
  1. Make certain you have funding to retain your lawyer or make arrangements to obtain these funds.
  1. Make a record of your spending habits for the past year; also include separately the financial requirements of your children.  You may use your checkbook, receipts, credit cards, bank records, income tax records and reasonable estimates to garner this information.
  1. Obtain all the information you can on your retirement plan and those of your spouse.  Secure brokerage account statements.
  1. If you or your child has a disability, get medical records recording a prognosis, as well as a diagnosis.  Get proof of your ability or inability to be employed if there is a problem.
  1. Get estimates of the value of your personal property including auto, jewelry, as well as the value of real estate you own.  If there are mortgages or liens on property, including automobiles, get evidence of same.
  1. Make a list of insurance policies and their present cash value.  Put policies in a secure place.
  1. List the debts you owe, including those on credit cards.  List should also include debts of the family.

This should not be considered a complete list.  For more thorough information and advice our attorneys can assist you.

Should you have questions about Planning to File a Divorce Case, contact the law firm of Damon, Ver Merris, Boyko & Witte, PLC to speak to one of our Grand Rapids Divorce Attorneys.  We are here to help. – Curtis R. Witte / November 25, 2016

While this posting originates from a law office, none of the contents should, in any way, be considered legal advice. If you have not signed a retention letter describing the legal services to be provided and the amount to be paid for such services, you are not a client of this firm.

While this posting originates from a law office, none of the contents should, in any way, be considered legal advice. If you have not signed a retention letter describing the legal services to be provided and the amount to be paid for such services, you are not a client of this firm.

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