Top ten things I tell new clients
1) Get a new email account with a new password, both of which should be unknown to your spouse. Why? You’d be surprised how much hacking goes on in a divorce. Your spouse, who may not have any malicious intent, may already know your password, unbeknownst to you, or they may have figured it out. This happens a lot. You don’t want them to know you’ve been corresponding with a divorce lawyer until you’re ready to tell them.
2) Find a good advisor or lawyer. Ask friends who’ve been through a divorce to recommend someone or research online reviews.
3) Find a good therapist. (You will need one. Please trust me on this one.)
4) Gather your tax returns for the past three years or more.
5) Have a good understanding of your month-to-month historical spending, on average, or year-to-year. Have your bank send, at a minimum, copies of your past 3-5 years of bank statements.
6) Think about getting a new separate bank account, at a specific point in time to be determined between you and your lawyer. You can’t just drain the marital account, that is a bad idea.
7) Gain a firm understanding of the assets in your name, in your spouse’s name, and in joint names with each other or others.
8) Have a firm understanding as well of the debts (liabilities) in your name, in your spouse’s name, and in joint names with each other or others.
9) Get a safe deposit box. You don’t want to hide things, but you may want to guard them. For example, some people have gold coins that are valuable. Or jewelry.
10) Make a list of your future goals, including where you would like to live in the next year and in the next 5-10 years as well. Figure out whether you need to find a job, if you’ve jettisoned your career to be the primary caregiver to your children, and what that new career might be, as well as any additional education that might be necessary to achieve this. Also list what you would be willing to sacrifice, if necessary, to achieve these goals.