In a past post we covered how the beginning of the year marks an increased rate of divorce filings in California and throughout the U.S. Whether ringing in the New Year meant deciding to end your marriage or whether you make that decision during any other time of year, there are some important steps to take soon after filing the divorce papers.
Already we advised our readers to thoroughly and honestly evaluate the financial accounts they share with their spouse. This means looking at how much they have in assets in terms of the marital estate and gathering records of those assets to share with their lawyer.
Don’t wait to ask your attorney what you should do with the money in your joint accounts and with your joint credit cards. The fear is that your spouse could empty the accounts or spend excessively with the shared credit cards. Separating accounts sooner than later can be in your best financial interests and protect a clearer picture of your estate before divorce.
The financial aspects following a divorce filing are not the only matters to hurry to evaluate and modify. You likely made some legal decisions while married that will no longer make sense after divorce. Did you create a will with your spouse? Certain terms of that document will likely change upon divorce. Discuss this with your divorce attorney, as well as an estate planning professional.
Did you create a medical directive while married? Who is named as the person responsible for making medical decisions in case you are unable to do so for yourself? If the named person is your soon-to-be ex, do you want to change that legal detail? Ask yourself whether your relationship is amicable and healthy to the point where you would trust your ex to make a life-and-death decision based on what you’d want. If you no longer have a good relationship or trust your estranged spouse, change this legal matter immediately.
Trust is important in a marriage, and trust plays a significant role in the process of divorce. The level of trust that remains between the parties of divorce can shape the steps and tone of the overall family law process. Talk to your family law attorney about your concerns and what you want to and should do to protect yourself financially and otherwise.