1. Go to couple’s counseling if you think you can save your marriage. Remember, divorce should not be the first option (except in cases of wrongful behavior such as domestic violence or infidelity), but rather the last resort.
2. Consult with a family law attorney BEFORE your separation to find out your rights and your responsibilities, and to avoid costly mistakes!! Knowledge is power so find out about the law before you take action.
3. Gather copies of all your financial and ownership records. Your attorney, and perhaps the court, will need these records to make important decisions on your case.
4. Make a photo inventory of your personal property (i.e. furniture, artwork, collections, vehicles, equipment, tools, guns, etc.) and any business property, secure sentimental or valuable items in a safe place so they don’t “disappear” which often seems to happen during a divorce case. But you will have to disclose these items in the divorce case even if the items are separate property.
1. Don’t act out of anger or emotions. Instead make reasoned and intelligent decisions considering the law and your options, and your children’s best interest.
2. Don’t throw away or destroy your records before, or after separation, including credit card statements and records of payments after separation as you may get credit for these payments in the ultimate property division.
3. If you have, or are expecting separate property (i.e. inheritance, gifts, property owned prior to marriage or proceeds therefrom), don’t mix this property with other community money or bank accounts. Don’t place it into joint names.
4. Don’t sign agreements with your spouse without having it reviewed by an attorney!!! Undoing a written agreement is often harder than getting a fair and proper agreement in the first place.