Usually, the prospect of divorce is something a couple has discussed or knows is coming. Increased arguments, spousal absence and emotional distance are a few signs. Couples may even try legal or informal separation first.
For others, divorce seems to come as a surprise to one spouse who was oblivious to or in denial of the other's discontent. The signs may not be as obvious, but they are there. Whatever your situation looks like, if you suspect your spouse will ask for a divorce or serve you papers soon, take the following actions right away to protect your future.
Speak to an attorney
Before anything else, speak to an attorney for personalized advice based on your situation. A qualified attorney can help you determine what steps to take and how to complete them properly. A lawyer may also warn you of things you should not do to avoid harming your case.
Document your finances
If you are responsible for the finances in your household, this step will likely be easy. Gather and copy all financial records for protection during the property division process and determination of spousal and/or child support. If your spouse takes care of the money, get information on all accounts and how to access them. Be sure to include valuables, credit history and debt along with financial assets. Regardless of your role, discuss with a divorce financial analyst the impact divorce will have on your finances and how to prepare.
Prepare for changes
You may want to start setting aside some money in your own personal account for living expenses once the divorce begins. However, do not hide money or other assets through illegal means. Also, you may have to begin looking for a new place and employment.
Your emotions may be on a roller coaster, even if you also want a divorce. It can be wise to see a therapist now to help you get through the divorce with a level head and the ability to put your children first. Being able to recognize, manage and express your emotions during this difficult time can lead to a smoother and less devastating breakup.