Talk to an attorney and get a game plan. Consulting with an attorney and even retaining an attorney isn’t only to proceed with divorce — men who want to be proactive make sure to set up a plan in advance.
That plan is a last resort in the event that things take a turn for the worse. Planning will protect your role in your children’s lives and your assets.
Go to counseling and do whatever you think is necessary to save your marriage. We aren’t in the business of telling you to get a divorce; we are here to arm you with information and to achieve the best results possible if you decide divorce is what is best for you and your family.
Much like you planned for your wedding by making all of the arrangements before the big day, you will also need to plan for your divorce. Planning begins by knowing your goals and what you hope to achieve.
If it is child custody, keep a diary so that you have a ready-made chronology to provide to your attorney. If your goals are asset-oriented, you will need to collect names, account numbers and phone numbers for all of your assets and debts, along with tax returns, deeds, bank statements, etc.
Finally, be on your best behavior. Now is not the time to take up extra-curricular activities such as partying and living as if you have no responsibilities.
In Colorado, actions such as moving around bank accounts or changing life insurance policies can be used against you depending on how close in time they occur to the actually filing for a divorce.
In fact, if any of these types of actions are found to be done “in contemplation of divorce,” you could paint your case in a very negative light from the beginning. Because of this possibility, what you should do to prepare for a divorce is a very individualistic analysis.
However, the biggest help by far will be to “get caught up” on the financial situation as quickly as possible.
For instance, if your spouse has historically taken the lead on paying bills or adjusting the check books, you will want to start becoming aware of what is out there; liabilities, etc.
Remember, if your name is on an account (electric bill, bank statement, credit card, etc.), even if you have never seen a physical bill, you can often call the providers directly to get statements.
Do not rely on your spouse to provide you the information. Take responsibility and begin to familiarize yourself with the financial standing of your relationship before the case gets started.
Figure out where your heart is. Do you want to work on the marriage or do you think it’s done too? If you think it’s done, then meet with a divorce lawyer and start getting your ducks in a row to file.
If you don’t know what you want, ask yourself: At the end of a terrible work week, at 5 p.m. on a Friday, are you ready and happy to rush home to her?
If so, then you deserve the shot in counseling to try to make it work. If you’d rather be at work, you are probably ready to file and you should go find yourself a lawyer.
If a divorce is on your horizon, the best advice that I could give you now is to start familiarizing yourself and documenting the exact amount and location of your assets and debts, and begin documenting the possession schedule that you have with your children.
You begin doing this by assembling current statements from all of your deposit accounts. If you are not the spouse that regularly pays the bills, look at the payment history of your monthly debt.
Understand if your monthly debts are paid on time. Familiarize yourself with all of your account passwords. Make sure that the balances of the accounts are what they should be and that no large amounts of money have gone missing. Get a copy of your credit report, which will remind you of all credit cards held in your name or your spouse’s name.
Additionally, start recording the days of the week that you have possession of the children, drive them to school, attend teacher conferences, etc.
Accurate record-keeping coupled with a realistic picture of the current financial and personal situation will help your attorney give you good advice from the beginning of your case.
If you think a divorce might be on the horizon but you’re not sure, I would suggest meeting with a domestic litigation attorney to learn about how divorce might impact you.
The attorney might be able to give you some information on things you can do to make sure you are in a good position if the divorce is filed. This information may also influence whether you file for divorce.
As a general rule, I would suggest making sure that you get a handle on your financial situation if your spouse has typically handled financial matters and to stay engaged with your children.
Make sure you’re on your best behavior too, if you’re headed for divorce you’ll be under extra levels of scrutiny.
If you are unsure whether a divorce is certain, the first thing you should do is communicate with your wife.Talk to her about what you feel is happening in your marriage and take time for self-reflection and/or therapy to figure out what is best for you and your family.
In addition, use this time to get your financial records in order. Start organizing your bank statements, retirement account statements, and credit card and/or loan statements.
If you have children, do not move out of your family home while you are considering whether divorce is inevitable. You need to maintain an active and involved relationship with your children during this time.
Make plans to spend extra time with them, help them with their homework and extra curricular activities, and keep in contact with their teachers and doctors. Utilize this time to place yourself in the best light and increase your chances for the custody and visitation schedule you want for your kids.