There are many reasons a married couple may choose separation over divorce. They could still be trying to work things out and need the physical space to do so. They may need to retain certain benefits like health insurance or qualify for other benefits like Social Security or military benefits. Or they may just not meet the requirements in New Jersey for a divorce.
Whatever the reason may be, if your separation is going to last longer than a few months, there are some do’s and don’ts you need to follow.
Know your marital finances inside out. If your spouse handled the finances, it’s time for you to get up to speed. You need to know everything that is coming in and going out money-wise or you could miss out on receiving assets you are entitled to under the law.
Close joint credit card accounts. You will still be responsible for any debts your spouse incurs during your separation, which could put you in a bad financial position. You can avoid this by either closing your joint accounts or by ensuring your separation agreement has a provision that deals with debt.
Establish your own credit. Get credit cards in your name only. Doing this will help you establish good credit based on your record alone, which is a must if you think you’re headed for divorce.
Work with a divorce attorney on a legal separation agreement. To protect yourself financially while you are separated, have a divorce attorney draw up a legal separation agreement that spells out the terms of how you will live apart while you are still legally married.
Don’t overspend. While it may be tempting to engage in some retail therapy during your separation, now is not the time for splurging. If you decide to divorce, your spouse could accuse you of dissipating assets.
Don’t overshare. Do not talk about your separation (or divorce) on social media.
Don’t get into a new relationship. If you are separated, you are still married. Jumping into a new relationship while you are still legally wed can hurt you in settlement negotiations.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.