So what if, despite your best efforts, your marriage does not work out? What are the do’s and don’ts of divorce? What you do and don’t do at this critical juncture could control the way the entire process goes. So PAY ATTENTION. Your soon-to-be-ex spouse could be.

  1. DO TAKE CONTROL OF FINANCES. Financial issues contribute to the failure of many marriages. Therefore, controlling finances in the short term when your marriage is ending could be crucial. If you anticipate a disharmonious dissolution, some bold steps could be necessary. First, secure as much cash as you can, preferably before your spouse gets to it. If you want to be fair, take half of the money out of all joint accounts and place it in a separate account which only you have access to. If your spouse makes or controls most of the money, take all you are entitled to. Unfortunately, many spouses exert unfair leverage on their counterparts because they control the money. So don’t get left out in the cold. If possible, you should secure enough money to hire a lawyer and get by for several months if you are unable to earn enough to meet your daily needs.
  2. DO CLOSE JOINT ACCOUNTS. Even if you are separated, until you file and serve the divorce papers, your spouse has the power to incur huge debts, which you will have to pay. Therefore, you should close all joint credit and bank accounts to new activity as soon as possible.
  3. DO NOTIFY CREDITORS. You may also wish to send out a “To whom it may concern” letter to anyone with whom your spouse could be incurring debt, to let them know that you will not be responsible. You could also send this letter to your credit reporting agencies. That will make it more difficult for your spouse to gain credit at your expense.
  4. DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE. I’ll sum up my advice on this issue with a little rhyme: If in doubt, don’t move out. Use and control of the house is a pivotal issue. If you are the less economically advantaged of the two spouses, staying in the house is crucial. Even if your spouse doesn’t care to support you or pay your board, he won’t want his house foreclosed upon and his credit destroyed. Therefore, he will have an incentive to pay the mortgage, thereby keeping a roof over your head, if you have the sense to stay in the house. Moreover, if you have kids and are concerned that your spouse will attempt to exclude you from them, the last thing you want to do is leave your house and kids. For child custody purposes, you should not leave the house without the kids.
  5. DO PROTECT THE BEST INTEREST OF YOUR KIDS. The Court determines what is in the best interest of the children. The parent who stays in the house will often have an advantage. Seeing the same friends, attending the same school, and living in the same house will usually be in best interest of the children. Therefore, the parent who stays in the house can often best provide the continuity that children need.
  6. DO CALL YOUR LAWYER. Remember, if you ever find yourself facing an imminent divorce, take control, of the assets, of the debts, of the house. If in doubt, don’t move out. And, remember to call your lawyer. Don’t know a lawyer, then Discover How You Can have Mike Samuels answer all your questions about your situation.

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