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Tips on Preparing for Divorce

Q: What steps can I take to prepare for Divorce?
A: 1. Unless you and your spouse have already agreed to divorce, you generally don’t want your spouse to know you are thinking about filing for divorce. This is a defense tactic, although it may not seem that way at first. If your spouse thinks you are planning a divorce or legal separation, he or she may
do things to prevent you from getting a fair result. This may include: withdrawing money from bank accounts; hiding information about income; and hiding assets. So don’t let on until you’ve collected all of the information you will need and are about to file with the court.
2. It is extremely important to collect all of the financial information you can get. Make copies of as many of the following papers as possible and keep them in a safe and private place (where your spouse won’t find them). This may be needed for proof if your case becomes contested or your spouse won’t provide any information. This information should include the following, or as much as you can get:
  1. Your tax returns and W-2 tax forms for the last two years for you and your spouse.
  2. The last six months of pay stubs for you and your spouse.
  3. Any other income documents (such as interest, stock dividends, retirement compensation etc.). Note: If your spouse owns a business, try to copy its income and expense records for the last three years.
  4. Deeds to real estate and mortgage documents.
  5. Pension or retirement fund papers and statements.
  6. Any other papers showing what you and your spouse earn, own, or owe.
3. Just before you are ready to initiate the divorce or legal separation (inform your spouse), withdraw half of the funds in any jointly held bank accounts, and move that money into an account in your name only.

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Law Offices of Jason Benjamin
Located at 10116 36th Avenue Court Southwest, Suite 310, Lakewood, WA 98499.
Phone: (253) 201-0308.
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