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Divorced Dad Help.

 

Things to do first!

Divorce will affect more than 50% of married couples some time or another. Here are some of the first steps you will need to take to protect yourself.

Documents.

Make sure to get all things personal and financial. Include the following: birth certificate, retirement documentation, and anything else personal. Take all of these to somewhere that your partner can't access them. Any paperwork that is related to joint assets, make a copy for you to keep. Also, it is very likely that your partner will go through your personal items, cell phone, bills, and computer, looking for anything she can use against you. So prepare for that now.

Bank Accounts.

Go to the bank and take 1/2 of the money from the account, then open a new account in your own name. Open an account at a new bank even. It is very tempting to leave your children and their mother with no money. Don't do that, it will only get you in trouble with the judge who will make you pay anyway, and most likely it will be retro-active. Make arrangements with your partner so that bills will be covered. Communicate all of this with your partner in writing, but not before you have done it. You do not want her to clean out your accounts first.

Valuables.

Remove any valuables, like collections, jewelry, artwork, firearms, cash, and heirlooms out of the house to a safe place. Anything with significant or sentimental value. You are not trying to hide things, but you do not want any surprises, like an empty house. If things disappear, it will be next to impossible to prove the items were yours, or even what they were. If you need to leave anything temporarily, take pictures or video for your records.

Credit Cards.

You do not want to wake up one day and discover that your partner has charged $2,000 on your joint credit card. You may be responsible for paying part or all of that $2,000. If she did go out shopping, report the cards as stolen immediately, hopefully you will not be held responsible for the entire amount. Again, communicate what you have done with the cards, you don't want her to try grocery shopping, and have the card denied.

Insurances.

Don't change any insurance coverage’s (life or health), at least until the divorce is final. You are probably responsible for at least half of their medical bills until then anyway.

Household Type Expenses.

It is just unwise to think that two households can live as cheaply as one. It is time to cut every cost you can think of. Cut back on unnecessary utilities (cable, extra cell phone, etc.). Sell anything that you do not need as soon as possible. You will need the money. Each spouse will need more money than you would think. After you are legally separated, the red tape could even keep you from selling things that are actually yours to begin with.

Retirement Money.

Stop paying into your 401k. Retirement funds will be split as part of the divorce, so you don't want the value of that account increasing during the months or years this drags on, only to have to give half of it away later. That will also increase your paycheck from week to week, and you will need the extra money.

Get a Lawyer.

Don’t just look at page 149 of the Yellow Pages for your attorney. Try to use personal referrals from friends, coworkers, other attorneys, or the father’s groups. Check at the court hearing your case and ask the Court Clerk for 3 references for a good, affordable attorney that has rapport with the judge. Meet with multiple attorneys (these consultations should free or at low cost to you) and decide on that face-to-face chemistry. Don’t forget to take notes so you remember necessary information. Don’t hesitate to fire your attorney if they fail to follow your directions, or do not live up to your expectations.

Finally - GOOD LUCK!

PLEASE, try to remain amicable. It is really in everyone's best interests. The lawyers get all the money when people play games. Good luck.

Some other resources:

Get divorce papers online

Men's Divorce Tactics

Surviving Divorce

Help the kids survive Divorce

The Divorce Primer

 

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