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What Should I Do If My Spouse Wants a Divorce?

Raleigh, NC Family Law Attorneys Discuss the Steps To Take If Your Spouse Wants a Divorce

No one can really be prepared to hear that his or her spouse wants a divorce, even if your relationship has been difficult.  If your spouse has indicated to you that he or she wants a divorce, here are a few steps you can take to help protect yourself:

  • First, ask your spouse to try marriage counseling – sometimes divorce can be avoided if both parties are willing to be open-minded and to commit to working on mending the relationship.
  • Second, if it looks like you are really heading toward divorce, Obtain and make copies of all of the financial documents for the past five years of your marriage, including bank statements and retirement accounts, income tax returns, credit card statements, loan balance and payment statements, monthly bills, etc.  Keep copies in a safe place somewhere outside of your home.
  • Third, if your spouse is moving out, document what he or she is taking from the house and approximate the value.  Take pictures.  As soon as he or she has moved out, change the locks on the house immediately and tell your spouse that he or she can only come to the house by invitation or agreement.
  • Next, Take pictures and make a list of everything you own that has value, put an approximate value on it, and try to remember when and how you purchased or obtained the item.  Decide if it is something you want and how important it is to you.
  • Always make sure you have access to all bank accounts and/or credit cards.  You may wish to take half of what is in a joint account to make sure you will have sufficient money to hire a lawyer and to survive without your spouse’s income.
  • Try to come to an agreement about who will pay what bills and debts and make a list of the debts, payments, and who has agreed to pay which.  Your attorney can use this list in drafting a consent order or separation agreement and property settlement.
  • Absolutely do not sign any documents, contract or agreements presented to you by your spouse until you have had a chance to meet with an attorney and discuss the document.  This is very important.  Once you sign and notarize an agreement, an attorney is limited in what she can do to change what you’ve signed.
  • Do not agree to move out of the house until you have discussed it with an attorney or unless you have been a victim of domestic violence or you fear domestic violence.  If that is the case, call the police and call me about the possibility of a restraining order to keep your violent spouse away from you.
  • As soon as you can, call me and come in for a consultation.  I can provide you with additional steps you can take specific to your situation and we can discuss your options and rights.

You need to protect yourself and you should not rely on your spouse to be honest or fair to you.  If you are heading toward divorce, call me, I can help.

Our family law attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina.  We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Raleigh, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, New Hope, Garner, Wendell, Rolesville, Zebulon, Knightdale, Cary, Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville.