On June 29, 2012, actress Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise. The filing came as a shock to the Mission Impossible actor and the rest of world. Less than a week later, however, the two high profile actors signed a divorce settlement and the case was over before it started. Why? Holmes reportedly hired three law firms in three states and spent over a year preparing to file.
There’s no need to retain three different firms if you’re contemplating divorce, but what many people do not know is that preparation is key. If you are expecting to file, here are a couple things you should consider when preparing for divorce:
Do you have records of all of your bank accounts? Retirement funds? Investment records? Insurance records? Things may go missing once you file. You should be able to give your attorney a picture of what your financial situation looked like before you filed. Make copies of everything and organize it. Take pictures as well. Most importantly, keep all of these records in a safe, but easily accessible place. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Do you have a Facebook account? Instagram? Twitter? Consider changing the privacy settings so that your account is private. Consider deactivating while your case is open. You never know what may be uncovered.
If you are preparing for a divorce, it may be difficult to intercept correspondence from your attorney before your spouse sees the mail. The Postal Service allows you—for as little as $5 a month—to reserve a Post Office Box.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The report will include information on your bills, loans, where you have lived, etc. Read the entire report before you speak with your attorney and ensure that there is nothing out of the ordinary. We can also run a more comprehensive credit report in house if you would like to review your credit report with an attorney.
Divorces are expensive. But most importantly, you will be supporting your own household individually, instead of with your spouse. Create a budget and put money away for the process of divorce itself and the months to follow.
If you are planning on getting a divorce, it is a good time to dust off your old estate plan and revise it for the future. If you do not have an estate plan in place, consider hiring an attorney to put one together for you. Make sure to change the beneficiaries for any of your life insurance plans as well.
If you are contemplating divorce, feel free to contact us. We can help you prepare for the divorce process and also revisit your estate plan.