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5 essential pre-divorce steps to take when ending your marriage

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2023 | Divorce |

You are nervous and hesitant, but you are not unsure. It is time for you and your spouse to part ways, and you want to initiate the first steps. But before you do this, you must complete a few preliminary steps that will set the framework for your independence.

It is time to create distance between your and your spouse. It is time to create a separate financial identity and seek the guidance of dependable professionals that will help you along the way.

Contact an attorney, assemble financial documents

Before pursuing a divorce, here are some essential steps to take:

  • Contact certain professionals who can guide you: This list may include an attorney who can provide you with insight along with the direction to take in your divorce. Also, a personal financial planner may help you understand how you stand financially and what you need to do to improve that situation. Finally, do not overlook the chance to talk with a therapist, who will listen to your concerns and provide important advice as you become the “captain of your own ship.”
  • Assemble certain financial documents: This list includes tax returns, mortgage statements, bank and credit card statements, life insurance policies along with statements from brokerage and retirement accounts. Some of these documents may disclose evidence that your spouse is hiding assets.
  • Open new financial accounts in your name: The separation from your spouse must include the separation of your financial identities. While you may have had joint accounts, you now need to establish your own independent account at your bank or lending institution. Better still: Open your new account at a different financial institution.
  • Review your credit report: Request copies of them and thoroughly review these documents. Look for unusual activity such as questionable purchases made by your spouse.
  • Apply for your own credit card: Maybe you have yet to establish credit. In such situations, applying for a secured credit card is a good idea. With a secured credit card, you deposit money in a bank savings account, and that deposit represents your credit limit.

Taking these actions prepare you for a new beginning and newfound freedom.

Planning for the future

Be discreet when taking these pre-divorce steps, especially if you have a vindictive spouse. You need to do these things as you plan for a future without your spouse.

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St. Louis County Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
LEX | The Missouri Bar