As a general rule, the decision to end a marriage is not one that is made on the spur of the moment. Instead, it is something you spend a considerable amount of time thinking about before deciding to file for divorce. If you are thinking about filing for divorce, there are some practical things you should do, and not do, during this time period. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby discusses five things to consider if you are contemplating divorce.
- Consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Even if you are not completely sure that divorce is imminent and no one has actually filed for divorce yet, now is the time to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected in the event you do move forward with the divorce. In addition, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney now to make sure that you don’t do anything that could be harmful to your side if your divorce ends up being contentious.
- This is not the time to dispose of assets. Like many people, you may be thinking about stashing some cash in case you do decide to go through with the divorce. In fact, this is a common knee-jerk reaction people have when the issue of divorce comes up – they head to the bank account to drain the account, move or sell property, or otherwise hoard or hide assets. Doing so can come back to haunt you down the road if you do end up in divorce court and will certainly not paint you in a favorable light in front of a judge.
- Do not remove your spouse as a beneficiary or dependent. Just like the desire to run to the bank and take out money, another common emotional reaction to the prospect of divorce is to remove a spouse as a beneficiary on retirement accounts or as a dependent for insurance purposes. If you are angry with your spouse, you may be more inclined to want to do this; however, it could land you in trouble with the court. Typically, you cannot do this while a divorce is pending. If you feel you have a legitimate reason for removing your spouse as a beneficiary or dependent, make sure you consult with an attorney before doing so.
- The is not the best time to make a major career move. Divorce means the division of marital assets and debts as well as the potential for child support and/or spousal support to be ordered. Support in particular (both child and spousal) is determined, in large part, on a party’s ability to pay. A major job change right now can muddy those waters. If you will make considerably more money at a new job you could end up being responsible for more of the marital debts and be ordered to pay more in support. If you will make considerably less, the judge might conclude you took the new job in an attempt to reduce your liability for marital debts and/or reduce any support you are ordered to pay.
- Start documenting everything. Ideally, your divorce will be amicable if you do decide to go through with it; however, because there is no way to be certain of that it is always best to protect yourself from the outset. One simple way to do that is to document everything. Income and expenditures should be tracked if you don’t already do that. Money given to your spouse once you are separated should be via check or money order. Communication should be via email or otherwise in writing. Keep a calendar and mark when you exercise parenting time with the children. In short, document everything.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.