Before Divorce - To Do List

If you are compelled to file for divorce or you expect your spouse to file for divorce in the near future, there are some things you can do to protect yourself. To be clear - We do not recommend that you do anything unethical, unlawful or improper, but we do recommend that you protect yourself against even the remote possibility that your spouse will treat you unfairly or worse. Following are some things you should consider doing prior to a divorce or separation:

Pay off any separate debts;
Make certain that your car is in good condition, (including tires, brakes, etc.), or if necessary, purchase another car;
Open your own checking and savings accounts;
Open your own checking and savings accounts;
Until a property settlement agreement is finalized, divide all community property bank accounts, savings accounts, and securities accounts into separate and secure accounts;
Have a dental exam and have any necessary work done;
If you require any medical attention, take care of the matter;
Revoke any power of attorney previously given to your spouse;
Safeguard any valuables that belong to you such as jewelry, art, antiques, photos, and special gifts;
If you intend to move out, start exploring available housing alternatives and save enough money to cover the cost of moving and incidentals;
While closing credit card accounts is not good for your credit score, close all joint credit cards
Pay tuition or job training course fees that will help you increase your ability to earn more income;
Get a cell phone in your own name with a private phone number;
Obtain a new email account without an obvious username and password;
Stop making any contributions to your retirement account. Cash gives you more flexibility;
Avoid doing anything that will come back to hurt you. Never mentally or physically abuse your spouse, damage or destroy your spouse's property, assault or batter your spouse, or anything that would suggest mental instability. If you go to court, you want clean hands;
Make several home movies and/or photos of you and any children;
If you own a gun, arrange to turn it over to your attorney for safekeeping;
If you have children, become more involved in their school activities. Meet their teachers, coaches, etc. Become known to them;
Make any friend of the opposite sex as invisible as possible. This will make things go much smoother; and
Evaluate your estate planning needs with an experienced estate planning attorney.



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