How do I protect myself financially in a contentious divorce? Assuming you’re not getting along in the divorce process at all, my quick answer to that question is you really need to do divorce pre-planning if you have the ability to do that.
In other words, preparation should begin ideally before someone has actually filed for divorce. You’re thinking about filing but you assume it’s going to be contentious. It is really worth the investment to do divorce pre-planning. It’s something that we do and I personally do here at our law firm. We feel strongly that preparation is worth its weight in gold because you, up front, understand the situation, what the potential contention is, and can do some financial pre-planning ahead of time to avoid some of the real breakdowns.
What would those breakdowns be? If you thinking you’re going to be cut off financially, such as in the case when you’re a stay-at-home mother and you’re concerned that if you file for divorce, you would be cut off financially or you have a concern that it’s a potential possibility. You want to set yourself up for a situation where if all of a sudden all the credit cards disappeared, if all of a sudden all the money was pulled out of all the bank accounts, that you would have protected yourself financially beforehand.
It’s difficult to outline all of the steps you can take beforehand because it’s different from case to case and circumstance to circumstance. The one hard and fast rule of thumb is to not be an ostrich. You can’t hide your head in the sand if you think you’re going to have a contentious divorce. You don’t have to even file. You can just come and do some pre-planning work and be smart about what might happen and protect yourself. It’s a wise use of your funds and your time.