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Ten Things to Do Before You Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

For further information or to schedule an appointment with Chantale Suttle please contact Dadvocacy at (305) 363-6171.

  1. Locate, scan, store and put back the following documents. Tax returns, bank, retirement, brokerage and credit card statements. If your real estate deeds/mortgages are not available online in your county, get those too. Have those ready. Getting documents from someone you are divorcing is difficult and expensive, and these documents are critical to dividing the marital estate.
  2. Locate, scan, store and put back recent candid photos of you with your children at happy times. These can evidence school and extracurricular activity involvement, and participation in holidays and special events. This can counter an argument that you were uninvolved or that you are requesting certain custody/visitation terms “strictly for revenge”.
  3. If you don’t know these things already, find them out: Your spouse’s SSN, your child’s SSN, names of all your children’s doctors and specialists, and the contact information for their teachers and caretakers. Depending on how ugly things get, your spouse may refuse to give you this information as soon as you need it.
  4. If you can afford it, get a drug test and a test for STD’s. I have had more than one case where an ex accuses the other spouse of having an STD or using drugs. Hide the results, hopefully you won’t need them.
  5. Have an annual checkup. It’s also important to learn of any impending medical issues before you make certain financial commitments or waivers (such as alimony). Also, if you are covered by your spouse’s policy, you may find yourself uninsured when you learn of a medical problem that needs treatment, so have your doctor give you a very thorough once over.
  6. Pull your credit report to see what credit cards are in both names, this will help divide the marital estate. If you have student loans that were incurred during the marriage, get those records as well, they are often difficult to locate later on.
  7. Put a fraud alert on your credit report to make sure that your spouse doesn’t obtain new credit lines.
  8. Change your password on your email, social media, and cell phone accounts- the dog’s name is easy for your ex to guess.
  9. Photograph your car/motorcycle/RV and its odometer in order to have record of its condition for purposes of valuing it for division of the marital estate.
  10. Photograph and store in a bank safe deposit box any expensive or heirloom jewelry, valuable baseball cards and the like. These are not to be taken from the marital estate, just stored for security of the item to avoid destruction or disappearance.