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Considering Divorce

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Submitted By jparksdu
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FIRST AND FOREMOST: try to stay in the home as long as possible. Do not just leave. Just up and leaving could affect your interest in the property and may negatively affect your ability to negotiate keeping the home. Just leaving can have major negative affects on your case also, not just the property but on custody/alimony as well. Once you’ve found the right attorney talk to them about your options on getting him out. Also, start making payments on the mortgage yourself if you are not already doing so. Make it documented that you have a claim to the property. (could be wrong on that last part, discuss that with your attorney, but by doing so you may get better positioning on rights to the house.)
Things to get done immediately:
Create a “Paper Trail”, get everything documented and in writing * Collect all Personal Data * Full addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers of both parties. * Full names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and addresses of all children of the marriage, and their schools and grades. * A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g., the date and county of the marriage, a prenuptial agreement etc.). * Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children. * Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation, or marriage counseling. * Financial Data * Both Your previous year's income tax return and any related data from the IRS. (not just last years but several years of returns if possible) * Information about both your current income, (e.g., a current pay slip). * A list of substantial assets and liabilities of both spouses. * Copies of any applications for credit, such as mortgage applications which often contain a wealth of helpful information. * Get the terms and rates on everything * Determine what you own and what you owe * Get a credit report, this should provide a list of your debts * Get his credit report if possible, it will provide his debts * This will help determine what is your “Marital Assets/Debts” * Determine what assets where purchased with any joint accounts or credit cards * Gather payment history on all joint accounts/credits/mortgages/retirement/investments/savings/school/assets * Get statements on all open accounts with the balance due showing * Determine cost of living w/out him and start saving/budgeting for that and legal fees/costs * Contact the court * You must file your petition in the county where either you or your spouse have lived long enough to set up residency * So contact your court clerk office and find out what you need (forms/documents/info) you need from your court clerk and what rules you need to follow * Start drafting/loosely preparing those docs/forms * Make two copies of everything * One for you and one to stash somewhere safe just incase * Contacting an attorney * Consult at least 3 attorneys * Find an attorney that is willing to “UNBUNDLE” their legal services, meaning that they will provide some but not all services. This will help limit costs * Determine what you’re capable of doing on your own so that legal fees won’t become too much. This is where prepping/reviews those court docs/forms comes in handy * There are some agencies and clinics that can help with preparing docs and forms, and there are paralegals that can do this work and their rates can be much lower than having an attorney do this * When you make your initial appointment with the divorce attorney, you should inquire about a consultation fee. Some attorneys do brief initial consultations for nothing, however most experienced divorce attorneys will charge between $100.00 and $200.00 as a consultation fee, or will charge their normal hourly rate. * Find out what the attorney's hourly rate is, what the up front retainer will be, whether any portion of the retainer is refundable if it is not used, and how often you can expect to receive invoices that detail their hourly charges and expenses. * If you can find an attorney that is unwilling to “UNBUNDLE” and consider a flat fee attorney. One who will charge you one fee for all work involved in the divorce process. Discuss the fee and what all the fee covers. Make sure that any communication; filing fees, correspondence with opposing counsel are included in the fee. * Other Considerations and Questions to ask an attorney. * http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/hiringtherightattorney/a/att_questions.htm * Begin Separation of assets * I don’t know too much about this area so you want to discuss this heavily with your attorney * After you’ve gotten counsel, and have discussed it with your counsel begin to separate your assets * The following may require that you inform your spouse of what your doing * If you have your own account great, but opening a second account to hold assets in any joint account should be considered * Start moving half of your of the funds in any joint accounts into this account * Or stop putting funds into joint accounts and freeze them * Close all joint accounts if possible * This is typically done by transferring balances, or outright paying off accounts, or in some instances (i.e. mortgages) refinancing. Discuss this with your attorney * Notify credit companies or lenders of the pending divorce. Discuss with them if there are any options on deferment or They may be lenient on ensuing payments * You pretty much want to get your name off of anything or only have your name on something. Again discuss this with your attorney they will help you with this.

Things you should stop doing if you are doing it and things to avoid doing:

* Never conceal, destroy, damage, transfer, or otherwise dispose of property owned by either or both of the spouses, without the other spouse's consent. * Try not to move your children outside the jurisdiction of the court you filed, unless that’s already been decided by the court. * Never hide the minor children from each other. If your children reside with you, you must make them available for your spouse to visit. This can have negative affects on custody * Never use credit accounts that are in your spouses name alone. Issues such as finances and who pays for what can be protected by petitioning the court for temporary orders. If you have joint credit accounts and are concerned about your spouse running up debt, you will have to get special protection from the courts.…...

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