Divorce proceedings are often one of the most challenging things that a person goes through. Many women are overwhelmed by concerns for their children, the reaction from friends and family, and their financial stability after their marriage has ended.
If your divorce involves a lot of conflict or contested issues, then your case will be particularly difficult. Even if things seem amicable, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself, your children, and your finances.
Perhaps the most important thing you should do to protect yourself is to seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney. Women have different experiences from men when it comes to divorce, and you should have the guidance of an attorney who takes the time to listen to you and adapt to your needs.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we are committed to helping guide women through a divorce so that they can feel confident about their financial future. We never judge but will always be open and honest. We will help protect your rights while prioritizing the needs of your children if you have them.
Tips For Protecting Yourself in a Divorce
Every divorce case is unique, and when you have the help of a dedicated attorney, they can advise you based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Don’t Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney
Women commonly make the mistake of signing papers that later negatively affect the outcome of key issues such as property and custody battles. You may end up signing something which cannot be modified later. Therefore, if your spouse asks you to sign something, politely tell them that your attorney has advised you not to sign anything before they review it.
Educate Yourself About The Divorce Process
Family and divorce law is largely dictated by state law. It is good to have an understanding of what laws apply to your case so that you know what to expect. When you have representation from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, one of our attorneys will take the time to educate you about your rights and the laws related to your case. We believe that this is an important first step in empowering women to feel secure and supported.
The divorce process is often highly emotional, and it is important that you prioritize self-care. You should take time for activities you enjoy and things that relax you.
Divorce can create a financial strain, especially when you are trying to plan for being financially independent after divorce. You may want to assess your finances and consider if there are any expenses that can be reduced, such as subscriptions. You may want to work with your spouse to decide what should be kept and who should be responsible for paying for shared subscriptions.
It is worth knowing that if there is s significant wage disparity between you and your spouse, then the Judge could order them to cover some of your legal fees. You should speak with your attorney to determine whether this is an option for you.
Divorce is complex, and being organized will help everything to run more smoothly with less stress. Your attorney can help you to determine what documents you will need to find so that you can put them all together in an easy-to-reference file. You should also have a calendar dedicated to your divorce where you can clearly mark out all deadlines, meetings, and court hearings.
Protect Personal Papers
You should collate all of your personal papers, such as your birth certificate, diplomas, and other personal papers. For any jointly owned records and financial accounts such as real estate records, tax returns, bank statements, and deeds, make two copies of everything so that one can be given to your spouse. Keep all your documents organized, secure, and in a safe location.
Consider Staying in the Family Home
If you have children, then you may want to try and keep both parents in the family home while the divorce goes through. This can help create stability for the child and may impact custody decisions later on, as the Judge will want to maintain the stability of the children as much as possible.
However, if you and your spouse are fighting a lot and creating an unhappy environment for your children, then continuing to live together may not be in the best interests of the children. If this is the case, then your attorney can help you apply for a temporary order so that you have a child custody agreement while you wait for your divorce to be finalized.
Run a Credit Report
During the divorce process, you will be required to produce detailed records of all your finances, debts, and assets. A credit report will include a lot of these and may remind you of things you have forgotten about. You can get one free credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Make a Record of all Personal Property
Begin making a record of all your belongings, and start by looking at your home and its contents. This will make it easier to divide your property and will ensure that you have a solid record. If you are concerned about the possibility of your spouse hiding assets, then you may want to take photos of your property with the date function turned on. You may decide to do this with the help of your spouse, or you can send them a copy of your records.
Secure Valuable Personal Property
If you own valuable personal items such as jewelry, then you may want to store them away from your home, somewhere safe. This only applies to personal property, which are assets you owned before you were married, inheritance or gifts. Anything acquired during the marriage is considered community property and could be subject to division. If possible, let your spouse know that you plan to remove some items to encourage open and honest interactions.
Cancel Joint Credit Cards
If you have a joint bank account or credit card, then you should cancel them. This will prevent your spouse from spending money on them, which you will then be responsible for. You should also tell your spouse that you plan on canceling joint accounts so that they are prepared for this, and it does not create unnecessary hostility.
Establish a Support Network
Confide in friends and family about the divorce. It is important that you have a support system in place that can be there for emotional support and to help you with childcare if you need it. You may also want to speak to a coach or therapist.
Minimize Conflict Where Possible
It is not always possible to escape conflict, but a high-conflict divorce does not benefit anyone. If your spouse is guilty of manipulative or abusive behaviors, then recognizing those behaviors is an important step. You can then point them out to your spouse or simply walk away. You cannot control their behavior, but you can control how you react.
Defining your boundaries and implementing them can help you to take back control. This involves clearly defining your goals and communicating openly. Your attorney can help you determine what your goals are and will set boundaries for when and where key issues should be negotiated.
Consider a Separate Mailing Address
If you are concerned about your spouse having access to your mail, then you may want to get a P.O. box to send your mail to. You could also sign up for Informed Delivery from the U.S. Postal Service, which will send you email notifications of the mail that is due to arrive that day.
Call The Police if Domestic Violence Occurs
Violence is never acceptable; if you suffer violence from your spouse or are concerned that they pose a danger to you or your children, then you should call the police.
If there is any history of abuse, violence, or reckless behavior, then your attorney can help you file a protection order. This will temporarily keep your spouse away from you and your children, giving you the space you need to make decisions about your future.
Try to Settle But Don’t Compromise on Your Rights
Where possible, you should try and come to an amicable agreement with your spouse with the help of your attorneys. This saves time and money on lengthy court proceedings, minimizes conflict and protects family dynamics, and enables you to arrive at personalized agreements rather than being dictated to by a Judge.
However, you should never compromise your rights, and sometimes court proceedings are necessary. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we will help you come to decisions amicably where possible. However, if your case requires court involvement then we will be prepared to advocate fiercely on your behalf in front of a Judge.
How To Protect Children in a Divorce
For many women, one of their biggest concerns when faced with divorce, is how it will affect their children. When a child’s parents divorce, it is always going to be difficult for them. Their lives are changing forever, which can bring up feelings of loss, anger, and confusion. Therefore, it is important to take steps to protect them.
A divorce attorney will help ensure that children’s best interests are considered in every decision. You can help make the divorce easier on your children by:
- Not discussing specific details about your divorce with your children.
- Not involving your children in arguments.
- Not using your children as a way of punishing or manipulating your spouse.
- Not expressing negative feelings about your spouse in front of your children.
What to Avoid During Divorce Proceedings
There are also some things you should avoid doing in order to protect yourself in a divorce. Avoiding these things will help your divorce to keep progressing.
Bad-Mouthing Your Spouse
There are bound to be things that you and your spouse disagree about, and it is understandable to feel frustrated. You should have a support network who you can speak openly with. However, you should try and limit it to a few trusted people.
You should be especially important around your children. A Judge could consider you bad-mouthing your spouse as harmful to your children, which could negatively impact your ability to secure custody.
Discussing Your Divorce on Social Media
You must be very careful about what you say on social media. Your spouse could use your words against you. The best advice is not to post anything on social media about your divorce, and to inform people who you want to know directly.
If you are tempted to post something online, consider whether you would be comfortable with the Judge reading the post out loud in a courtroom.
Hiding or Wasting Marital Assets
You might be tempted to waste or hide assets so that they are not divided in your divorce settlement. However, during the divorce process, you will be required to provide full disclosure of your assets, and if you don’t, you could be held in contempt of court, which carries a possible jail sentence.
If you are found to have hidden assets or spent money wastefully, then this could be considered bad faith. A Judge can use their discretion to give the other spouse a greater percentage of marital property if the other is found to have acted in bad faith.
Moving in With Someone Else
You might feel ready to start a new relationship before your divorce is final. However, this could create more conflict and could affect the Judges’ decisions regarding things such as spousal support, property division, and child custody.
How Can a Woman Protect Herself in a Divorce?
The best thing you can do to protect yourself in divorce is to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who is dedicated to your rights. The sooner you seek the help of an attorney, the better, and you may even choose to contact us before the divorce proceedings begin so that we can formulate a strategy from the very beginning.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our divorce attorneys are committed to women’s rights. We use a holistic model that is adaptive to your needs and strives for the best possible outcome. No matter the complexity of your case, we can help.