When you start looking for an exit strategy from your marriage, your first impulse may be to talk out that feeling with your spouse. However, many people will go out and retain their own lawyer as soon as they hear their spouse mention divorce.
You could put yourself at a significant disadvantage if you talk to your spouse about your thoughts before you take any steps to protect yourself. Many people will wait until they know for sure that divorce is the best choice to discuss the matter with their spouses.
Before initiating any kind of discussion, people considering divorce can protect themselves against possible misconduct by their spouse.
Track down and copy financial records
You may not regularly look at household financial records like tax returns and household expense records other than to check the balance in your bank account. Many spouses float through their marriages with little understanding about their marital assets until the divorce is imminent. Then, they find themselves effectively at the mercy of their spouse for the disclosure of certain records.
While you can request documents through formal discovery, the risk is always there that your spouse will refuse to provide them, claim they don’t have them or alter them in some way to trick you. Having physical copies or digital financial records of your own puts you on a more even playing field for divorce.
Activate your support network, and consider the big questions
Do you have children? Do you earn enough to support yourself on your own? Knowing the answers to these questions will play a big role in how you strategize for a possible divorce.
Being realistic about what you will need to get by shortly after you file can help you reach out to the people in a position to support you. Close friends, parents or even siblings may be able to offer practical support that makes ending your marriage a little easier.
Learn a bit about what divorce will mean for you
Before you can decide if divorce is the right stuff to take, you have to be realistic about what it will mean. Learning a bit about property division and parenting responsibilities after divorce can help you think about what will most likely occur when you file for divorce. Having a realistic attitude instead of fantasizing about impractical and unlikely outcomes can help you make a more realistic decision about the next step to take.
Learning about divorce and about your finances can help you prepare for the changes that come with the end of the marriage and put you in a more informed position for negotiating or litigating property division.