How To Protect Yourself Before A Divorce

As a divorce lawyer, I have met with countless clients who claim they were blindsided by a divorce. While they may have seen signs that something was wrong in the marriage, they chose to ignore them hoping that things would improve. In some instances, they might have even tried marriage counseling to no avail.

Divorces don’t simply happen overnight. In fact, there is often significant thought and some planning that occurs before one decides to proceed with a divorce. If you suspect that your spouse is contemplating a divorce, there are five steps that you can take to protect yourself.

1) Don’t Hide – If you suspect that your spouse is contemplating a divorce, it is better to know rather than hide from it. Confront him or her. Find out if there is really something wrong or is it truly your imagination. If there are problems, can they be resolved? Would counseling help? If things are as bad as you suspect, it is best to discuss them and possibly come up with a plan to try to part in a way that will cause the least damage to your finances and family;

2) Watch The Money – Become familiar with the location of your finances, understand your expenses and keep an eye on both. If money starts disappearing or spending increases, you need to take action. Ultimately, you may need to create separate bank accounts and/or cancel credit cards where you are the primary cardholder and your spouse has a secondary account.

3) Gather Information – It is easiest to gather the pertinent financial information needed for a divorce before the divorce is proceeding. After a divorce is filed, the filing spouse may remove financial information from the home or hide it away. While you ultimately will have the right to full financial disclosure in the discovery phase of a divorce, you can save some time and money by trying to obtain this relevant information before the case begins;

4) Seek Out Legal Advice – Do not rely on well-meaning family and friends to get the necessary information about the divorce process. Similarly, while there is a lot of helpful general information on the internet, divorce is state specific, so you need to focus on the legal process in the state in which you reside. Thus, it is worth the cost to visit a divorce lawyer for an initial meeting. During this time, you can learn about what the divorce process will look like, specific strategies that may work for you in preparing for a possible divorce, and understanding what you may ultimately receive at the conclusion of the divorce.

5) Build A Support System – Going through a divorce is can be devastating especially when it is unwanted or unplanned. Building a support system to guide you through this difficult process is critical. The support system is comprised not only of a lawyer who you can trust, but should include a therapist with whom you can discuss your feelings, perhaps a trusted accountant or financial adviser, and close friends and family who can provide moral support.

Being prepared for a divorce by following the tips above can make a world of difference when going through the process.

About The Author
Posted in Divorce
21 comments on “How To Protect Yourself Before A Divorce
  1. I like what this article recommends about gathering as much information as possible as early as you can. It makes sense that getting all the information on things like the finances and history would be good to make sure you’re well set for a divorce. This could also help a divorce lawyer get all the information they need to help protect you if there are any conflicts. Thanks for the post!

  2. John Ferrell says:

    You said that it is better to know if your spouse is contemplating a divorce. I’ll need to remember this so that I can be upfront when I am suspicious. Maybe I should ask a professional for help when I am trying to learn about the signs before a divorce.

    • Jennifer A. Brandt says:

      Yes, John. You should definitely talk with your spouse if you feel that they may be contemplating a divorce. As painful as it may be, it is better to know up front than to be surprised. Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog!

  3. John Mahoney says:

    My brother and his wife are getting a divorce and I wanted to make sure I did a little research for them. Thank you so much for talking about the importance of consulting with a professional when getting separated from your spouse. I can see that doing this can help you come up with the best plan that will provide your kids with the best and find the best settlement for your family.

  4. Jennifer A. Brandt says:

    John, Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog!

  5. Great article, Jennifer. You have provided some great advice to people considering a divorce. A little planning can same a lot of time, money, and frustration in the divorce process. Well done. We take the same approach at our law firm. https://www.hildebrandlaw.com/divorce-in-az.aspx.

  6. chris says:

    Really great advice! Thanks!

  7. Courtney says:

    Indeed, when it comes to divorce, preparation is critical.

  8. I like that you mentioned not relying on family or friends for divorce advice. Every situation is different and what may have worked for one, may not for another. You want sound professional advice when going through the process.

  9. Deb Pearl says:

    My friend has been struggling with her husband for a while and I wanted to look up some tips for her on how to deal with the situation. That is a good idea to seek out legal advice about what is happening. Family and friends don’t always have the answers to everything and a legally trained lawyer would know what to do. Thanks for the tips! I will be sure to share them with my friend!

  10. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I haven’t been on good terms lately, so we’ve been thinking about getting a divorce. I like that you suggest getting financial information before you file for a divorce. I don’t want to risk anyone trying to hide information, so this sounds like something to talk about sooner rather than later.

  11. Thank you so much, Miss Jennifer for sharing this helpful information. Laws are different country wise but these things are very common.

  12. Gary Puntman says:

    I think open communication is always important during a divorce, especially with your spouse, like you said. If a divorce occurs, you should always seek out legal advice. It seems like divorces can become tricky situations to figure out, especially when there are disagreements between the two people involved.

  13. Thanks for these tips to keep in mind for a divorce. You mentioned that you should try to get pertinent financial information beforehand, because it can help save some time. It sounds like you should definitely be aware of what information you need so you can focus your time on making sure you get the right information.

  14. It’s good to know how to find a family lawyer. I like how you said that I shouldn’t rely on friends advice and knowledge. My friends are great, but I’d much rather talk to a professional for advice for my divorce.

  15. Millie Hue says:

    I have a friend who’s planning to talk to his husband about getting divorced. They both have been very cold towards each other, but they never had a big or scandalous fight ever. But, I guess, they can’t work out their relationship anymore. It appears that when getting a divorce they both should be able to track the movement of their money and cancel their credit cards if they are the primary and secondary holder of it. I’ll make sure to share this with my friend. Thanks for the information!

  16. Jenna Hunter says:

    I appreciate your advice to deal with a divorce head on and not hide from the conflict. My brother and his wife are separated and he seems to think that they can work it out, but I think that he should make sure to be upfront with her and have a real conversation to see what they both want. If they do end up getting divorced, I will definitely suggest that they use a family lawyer to make it go more smoothly as well.

  17. phoenix men says:

    Great Article. My wife of 10 years (have been together 15) has just recently left me, announcing that she needed some space and her own freedom (who doesn’t) she swore there was nobody else.

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About Family Law Focus
The Family Law Focus blog provides highlights, updates and insights on complex family disputes including divorce, division of property, and alimony; child and spousal support; child custody; domestic violence; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; name changes; and adoption or termination of parental rights.
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The Editor

Jennifer A. Brandt, of Cozen O'Connor's Family Law practice, has represented a wide variety of clients in hundreds of family law cases throughout her career. Jennifer is a regular legal commentator on national and local television outlets such as CNN, Fox New Network, HLN, MSNBC, Fox29, ABC News, NBC and CBS and frequently writes and contributes to articles in numerous publications, including the Huffington Post, Fox Business.com, The PhiIly Post, Avvo.com, Allparenting.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Business Journal, the National Law Journal, and Main Line Today magazine.
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