So You’re Contemplating a Divorce: Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Divorce is discussed often today, as it’s become more common over the past few decades. However, how each partner is meant to protect themselves isn’t usually included in the conversation. If you’re not careful, you risk losing control of your money, home, and mental health if you don’t know how to prepare. In this article, we’ll provide you with the basic principles you need to look after yourself as you end your marriage.

Start the Process

In the state of Colorado, you can file for divorce at any point during your marriage, even if you haven’t yet separated your living situation or had your partner agree to it. There’s no time better than the present to look into starting the process and beginning the paperwork.

Establish Your Intent to Separate

While you may have talked about divorce, creating a paper trail and legally establish your desire for divorce will help secure your future now. You can have a conversation with your spouse and attempt to discuss what separation will look like and draft a divorce letter with an official separation date yourselves. However, if your communications aren’t proving beneficial or you cannot communicate with them, you can hire a Denver divorce attorney to help. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll also need to update other paperwork that mentions your partner, like your will, your medical power of attorney, and all instances requesting your emergency contact.

Keep Records of Everything

Having a record of everything that went on in your marriage will help speed up the divorce process. Take the time to understand your expenses during this time, breaking it down into necessary vs. discretionary expenses made by you and your partner. Everything that is discussed, and every penny that comes in or goes out of your joint accounts, must be recorded if you want to protect yourself from your partner taking advantage of the situation.

Separate Your Assets

In a divorce, many people first consider how your belongings and money will be divided after the paperwork is signed. When you start the process by documenting what is shared and removing what is yours from the equation, you’ll protect what is important to you and know how to split what you accumulated during your marriage.

Create an Inventory

As we mentioned earlier, maintaining thorough records will help make the divorce process easier and ensure you protect your best interests. This principle can apply to your assets as well. Consider creating a photo or video record of all the physical property you and your spouse owned together so you know what needs to be split and when something goes missing without your consent. Also, make a list of your financial assets, i.e., retirement accounts, checking accounts, so you can detail what you solely own and what your partner doesn’t have authority over.

Transfer Your 50% to Your Account

As soon as you’ve chosen the date you want to end and leave your marriage, also known as your separation date, you can take your half of the bank account balances held in your joint accounts. Transferring 50% of the total in those accounts to a separate account your soon-to-be-ex doesn’t have access to will protect your financial interests and help avoid confusion later down the line. You should also confirm that all scheduled and direct deposits of yours now go into your individual account, too.

Remove Yourself from Joint Credit Cards

Most couples open joint credit cards during ‌their marriage, usually under both of their names. Once you’ve filed for divorce, those cards have reached the end of their purpose and it’s time to take your name off of them. This way, you’ll only be accountable for the debt that was accrued prior to your separation date. You may also want to download a copy of your credit report so you can see how your partner may have affected your score and to make sure it doesn’t continue happening in the future.

Prioritize Your Health

When we think of protecting ourselves in a divorce, most of us often only consider the financial and tangible side of things. However, protecting your mental and physical wellbeing is just as, if not more important. While you can earn more money and gain new assets, your health can be affected beyond repair if not prioritized during this time.

Reach Out to Your Support

Everyone has people in their life that they can lean on for support. Whether you choose to move in with family or ask your group of friends for help, you need something to help make the mental and emotional challenges easier to deal with. Having someone who can remind you that there is an end in sight will make the paperwork and heartbreak manageable.

Find the Activities that Make You Happy

When going through a divorce, people often dwell in the unfortunate circumstances they’re in and forget to indulge in what brought them joy before or during the relationship. If you’ve neglected a sport you used to love, ‌start practicing again so your physical health doesn’t fall by the wayside. You can also get back into hobbies that you used to love and come with the added bonus of keeping your mind busy. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and you’ll find yourself on the other side of divorce with a whole new life separate from your relationship.

If you’re ready to file for divorce and moving on with starting your new life, our Denver divorce attorneys are ready to provide the guidance you need to navigate the process. Contact Lewis & Matthews, P.C. today and you’ll have a team on your side you can trust to keep your best interests at heart.