What do you do when you are in a “good” marriage and you start to get that feeling in your stomach that something might be awry? There are three “typical” individuals I meet with regularly who all take a different approach.
Some go into isolation and shun the people they need most. Overwhelmed with important decisions they start procrastinating; stop paying bills; stop calling their friends; and never bother to protect themselves. Then, all of a sudden, they discover that their joint checking accounts have been closed, direct deposit has terminated, and all of their marital assets have been moved into an account that they are unable to access.
Others take steps for months, even years, to prepare for a divorce. Usually, these individuals have had a feeling that their marriage might be destined for a divorce. They slowly hide money from their spouse and over time they have accumulated a small “war chest” in the event they need to hire a divorce attorney.
The last “typical” prospective client will wake up one morning and realize that their marriage is over. They protect themselves that same day by walking into their bank and withdrawing whatever money they have available from their joint bank account. Next, they open a new account that their spouse cannot access and deposit the money. This approach can leave a dependent spouse in a nearly impossible situation for months.
Not everyone fits neatly into these categories. There are shades of gray here and there but patterns emerge. What is important is that you understand that all of these decisions have consequences and how you handle them will affect the way your divorce proceeds. A divorce lawyer can help give you the information you need to prepare for the road ahead by explaining how these decisions will affect you, your spouse, and your children.