When you are going through a divorce, you are going to be vulnerable in many different ways. Even if you might have been the one who initiated the divorce proceedings, you are still going to need to make sure you protect yourself during divorce. Let’s get a better understanding of the types of protection you will need and some tips on what you can and should do.
Protect Yourself Physically
First, you have to make sure that you and your children are physically safe from your spouse if there is any fear of domestic violence. While this may not be a concern in all divorces, it is always something you want to keep in the back of your mind. Divorce can make people do things they might not have done otherwise.
If there are issues, contact the authorities. Make sure you have a safe place to go with your children and get a restraining order if needed. Take all of the actions needed to ensure your safety.
Protect Your Finances
In addition to ensuring physical safety for you and your children, you also have to make sure your finances are protected. This means canceling credit cards that you and your spouse have together, so they don’t start charging on those cards. It also means paying attention to the money you have in your accounts, you need to lock down your finances to truly protect yourself during divorce.
Your spouse shouldn’t be spending money extravagantly at this point, because it belongs to the martial community. However, that’s exactly what some people do when they are getting divorced. They overspend and run up debt, which can cause serious issues with your finances and credit before you get divorced.
Keep Your Assets Protected
Along the same lines, you need to be sure you are protecting your assets. This includes the assets you came into the marriage with and that are yours and yours alone, as well as the community assets that belong to both you and your spouse. Anything that you bought together after you were married will typically be assets that are considered community property.
Make sure you have a list of all of those assets. Sometimes, spouses might try to sell or hide some assets, so they don’t have to give them up to their ex. Even if you trust your ex, it’s a good idea to make sure that you double check your asset list.
Don’t Sign Anything Yet
If your spouse or their attorney comes to you with anything to sign, even if it seems like it’s in your favor, don’t sign it. You need to read it—and have an attorney read it—to see what it truly says and to see how it will affect you in the end. There is always the possibility that your ex is trying to do something untoward and cheat you out of money, property, etc. Sign nothing until you’ve had a professional look it over.
Have a Place to Stay
When you and your ex are getting divorced, you likely aren’t going to be living in the same home throughout the process. Most of the time, one or both of you will have to move out. You will want to find a place that will work with your budget and that’s safe.
Sometimes, this might mean downsizing quite a bit from what you are used to, but that’s okay. Other times, it may mean that you have to see if you can live with family or friends for a while until you get back on your feet. Considering your family as your closest allies is a good way to protect yourself during divorce.
Rethink Your Budget
Because of the major change to your finances, it also means you need to rethink your budget. You aren’t going to have as much money as you did before since you have just your income now. This means downsizing your spending habits, just as much as you have to downsize where you live. It means spending less on the things you want and ensuring you have money for the things you need.
Those who have been married for a long time and who aren’t accustomed to living on a tight budget might find it a bit constricting at first.
Protect Your Mental and Emotional Health
People often focus on the financial aspect of divorce, but they forget to keep themselves protected mentally and emotionally. However, these aspects of divorce can be just as damaging, and they could have longer repercussions.
Divorce is a major change in your life. You have to accept and grieve the loss. Even if you feel good about the divorce, you still have to recognize it as a change, and it could be adding stress you aren’t aware of. Make sure you are taking care of your mental and emotional health. This could mean finding people that you can talk to about the divorce, such as an online or offline group or a therapist.
Sometimes, it means taking some time just for you. Pamper yourself and do things that you enjoy, so you don’t let thoughts of the divorce consume you entirely.
Keep Physically Healthy
It’s just as important to keep physically healthy. Don’t let your divorce be a cause for you to sit back and become a couch potato. Make sure you are getting plenty of exercise each week. Exercise will help you to deal with your stress levels better, it will help you to clear your head, and you will be happy with the way you look and feel.
Talk with an Attorney
Although you can go through the divorce on your own if you wish—and the divorce is simple—you will find that working with an attorney can be a great idea. They can help you to handle a lot of the hard work of the divorce, so you have less to stress about. A good attorney will protect your rights and will work hard to ensure you are treated fairly in the divorce proceedings.
Take the time to find an attorney in the area that can help you stay protected in your divorce from start to finish.