In life in general it is a good idea to plan ahead. This is especially true when the possibility of a divorce starts to invade your life. The following ten points are general tips for people who may or may not move on to a divorce.
- Go see an attorney and get advice specific to your situation. What could be good advice for one case could be the exact wrong move to make in another case. For a one hour in person consult our firm charges $300.00. The advice you get could save you thousands of dollars, make you change your mind about getting divorced or not, or impact how much timesharing you get with your children.
- Educate yourself about what is going on in your marriage. If your spouse handles all of the finances, you need to find out what exactly is happening. Do not rely on your spouse to tell you. Personally review bank statements, pay stubs, credit card statements, deeds, and loan documents. I have seen many a trusting spouse who thought they were well off when in fact they were in debt, and people who thought they were broke that were actually well off.
For example, one spouse can get credit cards or incur other debt without the signature or knowledge of the other spouse. That debt can still be a marital debt, which is usually split fifty-fifty (50/50).
- If you have children, become visibly involved in their care. By visibly involved I mean so people other than your spouse see you taking care of your kids. Teachers, doctors, daycare providers, friends, coaches, all need to see you. If both parents go to a parent-teacher conference and there is something to sign, make sure you sign. Take photographs of places you go with your children. Leave a trail of evidence in case you are ever in court fighting over the children.
A parent can be a great parent but they work fifty (50) hours a week. They come home every night, play with the kids, help with homework, and put the children to bed. Every weekend the parent and children are constantly with each other. Say the other parent does not work outside the home and takes care of all the parent-teacher conferences, doctor visits, and signs the homework. One parent would have solid evidence from third parties about their involvement with the children. The other parent might have difficulties proving their involvement.
- Take care of any problems you may be having in your life. Drinking, drug use, gambling, anger issues, and mental health are areas that can be problems in your life that contribute to the destruction of your marriage. They can also be used against you in your divorce. If you are drinking to excess, do whatever you need to do to get the problem under control. Do not get a DUI. It can be very stressful when a marriage is beginning to come apart. Find other ways to cope than excessive drinking or other detrimental behavior.
- Start making sure you have access to money. Build a cash reserve that your spouse cannot access. Open credit cards in your sole name and keep the balances available. If you have not been working, consider getting a job or enhancing employment skills.
- Do not get pregnant. Having a child can be a joyful event. It can bring a couple closer together. However, when a couple is struggling in their relationship a pregnancy usually just makes things worse. A pregnancy and new baby adds even more stress and complexity to a divorce.
- If your relationship is in such bad shape that a divorce is a possibility, consider revising your Will, Power of Attorney, Incapacity planning documents, beneficiaries, and other important documents. In a divorce in Florida your non-marital property, such as inherited property, remains with the owner. A Will can direct all of your property go to your spouse in the event of your death, including non-marital property. If that is no longer your wish, you should immediately change your Will. With a Power of Attorney, a spouse who no longer has your best interests at heart can wreak havoc. They could sign, in your name, any number of documents like bank accounts, credit applications or rental agreements. Neutralize this potentially dangerous weapon by revoking the Power of Attorney and destroying all copies.
- Collect evidence of wrong doing by your spouse. Florida is a no fault divorce state so the mere fact of infidelity is not something a court would consider. However, the circumstances surrounding infidelity or other shabby behavior is something a court will consider. If a spouse spends marital money on an affair or illegal drug use a court can adjust the financial settlement to compensate the wronged spouse. Such behavior is usually concealed and can be difficult to prove so collect and document any available evidence. A receipt, a photograph, a love letter, even the name and address of a witness can be great help in a future trial.
- Keep a log. Ask four people about an event they witnessed a year ago, and you usually get four different versions of events. With time, human memory fades and becomes distorted. A log or journal can be a great help if you end up in a contested divorce. Your testimony will be much more believable if it is precise and backed up by a journal made at the time of the event.
This is the largest and most experienced family law and criminal law firm in Brevard County. We have served the community for 40 years (in 2016) including all of Brevard, Cocoa, Melbourne, West Melbourne, the Beaches, PAFB, Titusville. Initial consultations are always complimentary and an attorney is available 24/7 for urgent needs. Call the office 321-631-0506 or use the contact form at the top of this page.