Knowing it’s time for a divorce can be a scary situation to be in, but once the first step has been taken and the whole process has been set in motion, everything feels a little easier. Here are seven precautions to take before getting a divorce in Arizona.
- Stay in your home. No matter how tempting it may seem to call it quits and leave, staying in your home keeps you in a strong position. Leaving can weaken your negotiating position on the division of joint property, leaving you with little to no control over it. Your soon-to-be ex could get rid of any personal possessions you’ve left behind, and you’d have no way of knowing until it’s too late.
- Keep the children with you. Likewise, if you have children, don’t leave without them or allow your partner to leave with them. Custody battles can be particularly ugly and drawn out, and you’ll be in a better position if you have the children with you while you work toward a solution in the courts.
- Close joint credit card accounts. It’s not unusual for a spouse to respond to a request for a divorce by charging up a large amount of credit card debt, half of which you could now be on the hook for. If you have credit cards that are paid off or nearly so, it’s a good idea to finish paying them off and close them before you pursue a divorce in Arizona. It’ll prevent any ugliness and simplify the division of debt.
- Gather personal papers and make copies of important documents. As you get closer to when you plan on filing for divorce, make sure you have copies of all the important documents you will need, such as financial statements. In the worst case scenario, once you file, your partner may try to make it difficult for you to access the information you need.
- Document joint property. It’s also important to have a record of most of your joint property before filing for divorce in Arizona. It’s not unusual for people to try to get rid of joint property without the other person’s knowledge or permission, so documenting what you have together will enable you to do something about it if your belongings go missing. The best way to document joint property is to take video while walking through your house, making sure to open drawers and closets to show the contents.
- Don’t sign anything. Sometimes, when the other person senses a divorce is coming, or if you’ve already talked to them about wanting one, they may try to get you to sign documents that would weaken your position. For instance, they may attempt to get you to sign a quitclaim deed, giving up your rights to the home. Don’t sign anything! If your partner is putting a lot of pressure on you to sign something you’re not comfortable with, it’s time to take the negotiations to the professionals.
- Get an attorney. We cannot stress enough the importance of having an attorney when filing for divorce in Arizona. An attorney can offer professional legal guidance, help you avoid common pitfalls and DIY mistakes, and negotiate for your best interests without the emotional baggage between you and your partner.
Getting a divorce in Arizona is more straightforward than you might think, but it does make it a little easier if you make smart preparations beforehand. For more information about how to protect your interests before and during your divorce, contact the Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.