Divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult for men. Men generally do not like to express their emotions in the same way as women do, which makes it difficult to get the support they need. The team at Turner Family Law team gets it.
Our Greenville divorce lawyers offer a comprehensive pre-divorce checklist for fathers who are facing divorce.
How to Prepare for Divorce As a Man
Make copies of records
If you haven’t begun the process of gathering records, it’s time to do so. These documents should concern every aspect of your pending divorce, even matters that you believe won’t be in dispute. They can serve as evidence in your favor if the divorce becomes contentious. Here are some examples of what to begin collecting:
- Emails, text messages, and other written communications: Anything written and sent between yourself and your spouse, or you and your children, should be preserved. How far back to go depends on your individual circumstances, but in general you can never have too many records.
- Financial and property documents: This is a broad category that includes bank statements, credit card bills, investment records, tax returns, property deeds, business licenses, pay stubs, and much more. If it concerns marital money or property, go ahead and organize it.
- Personal information: Your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, marriage license, health insurance, medical records, and more can be included here. If you haven’t pulled your personal credit report in a while, do it now.
- Insurance information: You may have numerous forms of insurance including health, automobile, premises liability, business insurance, and more. Get copies of your policies and insurance cards.
- Legal documents: You may have a family court order from a prior marriage, for instance concerning child support payments. There may also be documents between you and your current spouse such as a last will and testament or prenuptial agreement.
- Your spouse’s and children’s information: To the extent possible, get copies of all the above records that pertain to your spouse. Any documents concerning your children like their health, academic, and extracurricular information should be included, too.
Secure your information and move your personal belongings
After you’ve collected the above and other records, make sure they are in a safe place. If they are digital, change any passwords so your spouse cannot access them. If they are stored on a flash drive, don’t let your spouse have access to it. Change your personal email address passwords and accounts that are in your name only, but consult an attorney about any joint accounts to which your spouse may have rights.
Start moving your personal valuables out of the house – not to hide them, but to protect them.
These could include sentimental items or things with monetary value such as personal collections and firearms. It’s a great idea to make an inventory of all these items before you move them, including by photo or video. These items can be placed in a storage unit. Consult your attorney as you complete this step.
Keep things private
At this point, it’s imperative to protect your financial interests and legal rights. Open new banking, savings, and other accounts in your name only and don’t share this information with your spouse. Get a credit card in case of urgent financial situations. Be sure that any account alerts are sent to your email or phone only. If you are worried that your spouse will intercept your mail, it may be a good idea to obtain a PO box and temporarily have mail sent to it.
Don’t discuss the divorce, custody proceedings, or related issues with your spouse. Save this for mediation or settlement negotiations between your and your spouse’s lawyers. While sharing your feelings about the divorce with family and friends is expected, keep legal details out of those conversations and stay off social media.
Take care of yourself
Divorce is hard, and you may need spiritual, emotional, or mental health counseling to get through it. This is perfectly normal for men, so don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Keep yourself in good shape by sticking to a schedule, going to bed on time, exercising, and maintaining other positive habits and routines. Don’t miss work, medical appointments, time with your children, religious services, and other essential events in your life.
Taking care of yourself also means securing legal counsel at your earliest opportunity. Once it’s clear that divorce is inevitable, you have to be prepared for litigation against your spouse. Your property, finances, children, and future depend upon having an experienced attorney. We’re ready to help during these trying times.
A Few Things You Shouldn’t Do As a Man Filing for Divorce
This would not be a comprehensive divorce checklist for fathers without a word on what you should not do. For instance:
- Don’t move out of the family house: Doing this may signal to the judge that you don’t want the house or, worse, that your spouse should have custody of the children who stay behind. There may be a time when you move, but talk to your lawyer first.
- Don’t hide, spend, or destroy money or property: While some items should be moved for safekeeping, as mentioned above, let your attorney know immediately and don’t damage, spend away, or waste property.
- Don’t keep yourself in the dark about divorce: There are many free resources online, including our website, which can help you learn about South Carolina divorce laws. Take advantage of them.
- Don’t skip visitation: This was listed above, but it should be emphasized that you don’t want to miss any time with your children if possible. Missing visitation might show the court that you don’t mind having less parenting time.
- Don’t forget to be on your best behavior: Everything you do from now until the end of the divorce will be scrutinized by your spouse. Act accordingly and take the high road at all times.
We Can Help You Learn How to Prepare for Divorce As a Man
Attorney J. Michael Turner has considerable experience representing dads like you, and he’s a divorced father himself. If you’re ready to put together a personalized pre-divorce checklist and get started on your legal case, contact our Greenville, SC office today at 864-778-2734 or online.