A divorce is one of the most stressful times in anyone’s life. At times, it can feel like your human rights are being taken away from you.
How do you protect yourself during a divorce? What steps can you take to make sure your rights stay safe? Here are some tips that will help you do exactly that.
Immediately Contact an Attorney
Every day, family attorneys across America get calls from worried men and women saying something like this:
“I was just served divorce papers. What do I do now?”
Family law attorneys often specialize in divorce law. If you can find a good divorce law specialist, you should contact them immediately after you decide (or discover) you’re getting a divorce.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can take steps to protect your assets. One of the interesting things about divorce law is when couples have the same family attorney: the first person to contact that attorney and ask for their legal services will gain access to that attorney while locking out the other partner in the marriage. If you have a good family lawyer you like, contact them immediately before your spouse (or ex-spouse) does the same thing.
Here Are Questions You Need to Consider:
In regards to the marital home you share:
- Who stays in the home?
- Can one party buy out the other’s interest?
- Should the property be sold?
- What happens if one party puts a significant down-payment of their individual funds into the purchase of the property?
- What if the home is titled only in one party’s name?
In regards to retirement benefits:
- Are the benefits a “defined benefit plan” like a 401K or a 403B, or a “defined contribution plan” like a pension which provides monthly benefits over the life of the employee?
- When were the benefits earned – before or after the marriage?
In regards to personal property:
- How is the personal property going to be divided?
In regards to vehicles:
- When was the vehicle purchased?
- How is it titled?
- Is there a loan outstanding?
In regards to debts:
- How are debts going to be handled – loans, credit cards, etc.?
In regards to bank accounts:
- Are they join or individual?
- How many bank accounts?
- How are each account used?
In regards to alimony:
- What are the respective incomes of the parties?
- What is the ability of the dependent spouse to become self-supporting?
- What are the ages of the parties?
- Are there any health issues?
In regards to health insurance:
- Who holds the current coverage?
- Will that party continue to provide coverage for the other party up to the date of divorce?
- Is there an ability for the other party to stay on the coverage after the divorce?
In regards to tax returns:
- Will the parties file jointly or individually?
- How should any refund be divided?
- Are there any advantages to filing jointly?
Keep Records of Everything
During a divorce, a single missing paper or document could instantly jeopardize your case against your spouse. If you want to have the best possible chance of preserving your rights in court and out of court, then you’ll want to keep careful track of all documents. Make copies, take pictures, and have backup copies in cloud storage.
Don’t Agree to Anything You Don’t Understand
One of the most important rules of divorce law is that you should never sign anything you don’t understand. Once you’ve signed a divorce settlement agreement, there’s no turning back: you’ve locked into the conditions of that agreement. Something as simple as your signature on a piece of paper could take your kids and house away from you forever – so make sure you have a competent lawyer read over everything long before you put the pen to paper.
Looking for a competent team of family lawyers in Carroll County, Maryland? Whether you’re looking for a family law attorney in Westminster or anywhere else in Carroll County, the law firm of Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad LLP specializes in protecting its clients’ rights and assets during even the most complex divorces.