Divorce is almost never entirely amicable. However, when separating spouses make a commitment to treat each other amicably, it often makes the process easier and less expensive for all parties involved.
Even under the best of circumstances, though, disentangling the joint affairs of two people is a challenge that can make life very difficult during the divorce process. Under more hostile circumstances, neglecting to disentangle your affairs can land you in an intolerable position.
Property acquired by either party subsequent to entering into a valid separation agreement or filing a petition for divorce is considered separate property not subject to equitable distribution. The same is true of debt. Therefore, spouses should do the following to begin disentangling their affairs before a divorce:
- If you are not ready to file a divorce petition, consider entering into an informal separation agreement drafted by an attorney.
- Open separate bank accounts soon after the date of separation so you have a place to keep personal assets.
- Close joint credit accounts and take out new ones in your name only.
- Work with creditors to ensure the proper party is receiving bills such as those for car or mortgage payments. Take care to avoid a situation where your spouse has control over something you need to carry on your daily life.
- Pay attention to auto and health insurance issues. Make sure you maintain coverage and do not allow your spouse to be in control of that coverage.
- If you earn less than your spouse, move for alimony pendente lite as soon as possible.
Conversely, divorcing spouses must be very careful about appropriating, spending or concealing property that may be subject to equitable distribution. An experienced Tampa area divorce attorney can help protect your financial position and standard of living during divorce.