Navigating through a divorce or family law case can be overwhelming, especially when the divorce was unexpected, or you haven’t had time to proactively prepare for the process. Many of our clients take the initial steps to file for divorce but then don’t take the time to start preparing for moving forward until they receive instructions from their attorneys. Whether you have hired a divorce attorney or you are representing yourself (pro see), it is crucial to be aware of actions you can take to facilitate a smoother transition as you proceed with your dissolution of marriage case.
Table of Contents
- Preparing for a Smooth Divorce
- Tip 1 – Change Your Email and Social Media Passwords
- Tip 2 – Organize Financial Documents
- Tip 3 – Preserve Bank Statements
- Tip 4 – Exercise Caution on Social Media
- Tip 5 – Maintain Cordial Communications
- Tip 6 – Monitor Credit and Financial Security
- Facing a Divorce in Chicago? Our Divorce Lawyers Can Help.
Preparing for a Smooth Divorce
Below we delve into a list of steps that individuals going through a divorce or family law case can take to prepare for what lies ahead and ready for what’s next.
Securing your online presence is an important first step. To safeguard your privacy and protect sensitive information. By changing your passwords and updating security questions, you can prevent unauthorized access and maintain control over your personal information. Many people have access to their spouse’s or significant other’s emails and social media accounts. The other party may not be aware or may have forgotten that their ex knows their passwords. Or, maybe they use the same password for everything, and it would be an easy guess. I always advise my clients to change their email and social media passwords. I even tell them to change the security questions, because exes tend to know the answers too.
Tip 2 – Organize Financial Documents
I tell my clients to make a folder system with categories for key expenses, financial accounts, utilities, etc. Creating a systematic folder system to store bills, receipts, and invoices will prove invaluable during the divorce process. Start by sorting documents into respective folders as they arrive each month, such as utilities, children’s medical expenses, child care expenses, mortgage statements, and more. Start saving all bills, receipts, and invoices, and get receipts for all cash transactions. Put each bill, receipt, and invoice into the appropriate categorical folder each month as the documents arrive, so they don’t have to order them later. A folder for utilities, a folder for children’s medical expenses, a folder for children’s child care expenses, a folder for mortgage statements, etc. This is more cost-effective than having to order copies later.
Tip 3 – Preserve Bank Statements
Retaining copies of all bank statements is crucial when it comes to the financial aspects of divorce proceedings. I also advise my clients to sign in to their online banking account, if feasible, and download available statements regularly. I always recommend doing this once a month going forward. By doing this monthly, you can ensure that you have an accurate record of financial transactions, making it easier to comply with any necessary discovery requests.
Slow down on social media use. During a divorce or family law case, it’s important to be mindful of your online activities, especially on social media platforms. Avoid posting anything that you wouldn’t want a judge to see later, as these posts could be used as evidence and potentially impact the outcome of your case. Exercise restraint and think twice before sharing personal information or engaging in contentious discussions online.
Tip 5 – Maintain Cordial Communications
Always maintain a cordial and respectful tone when communicating with your spouse or co-parent. Avoid engaging in heated arguments or exchanging negative messages. Remember that any written communication, such as text messages or emails, can potentially be used as evidence in court. Keeping interactions civil can positively impact the judge’s perception of your conduct during the proceedings. Once again, don’t write or say anything you wouldn’t want a Judge to see or hear about later.
Tip 6 – Monitor Credit and Financial Security
Divorce often entails dividing marital debts and assets. Protect your financial well-being by closely monitoring your credit reports, social security number, and those of your children, if applicable. Reviewing credit card accounts, joint bank accounts, and other financial activities will help you detect any unusual or unauthorized transactions. By staying vigilant, you can address discrepancies promptly and safeguard your financial interests since debts incurred during a marriage are divisible.
Preparing for a divorce or family law case requires careful attention to various aspects of your life. The steps outlined above can provide a starting point to help you streamline the process. Remember that these suggestions serve as general guidance, and it is crucial to consult with your divorce attorney for advice tailored to your specific situation. By taking proactive measures to secure your digital presence, organize financial documents, and maintain a civil demeanor, you can better navigate the challenges of divorce or family law cases.
Facing a Divorce in Chicago? Our Divorce Lawyers Can Help.
If you are planning to file for divorce or anticipate your spouse has already filed, be sure you talk to a divorce attorney to protect your interests and help guide you through this difficult time in your life. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.