Separating from your spouse does not always mean that you will get a divorce. Even some couples who have navigated the slippery slope of dating while separated have eventually reconciled. Just remember, while you may have hopes of reuniting with an estranged spouse, the separation was necessary for a reason. It is possible to keep the door on your relationship open while protecting your own long-term interests. Doing these four things after you have separated will help you protect yourself financially and emotionally.
Tell Your Family
Admitting that your relationship has hit a rough patch is never easy, but once you and your spouse have decided to physically separate, it is important to tell those who are closest to you. For practical reasons, they need to be aware of the fact that you and your spouse are no longer physically together so that they do not immediately contact your spouse assuming they are with or near you. Also, if there is a history of physical, emotional, or financial abuse, arming your loved ones with knowledge helps to protect yourself and any children who are in the household.
Monitor Your Credit
Extricating yourself from your spouse physically is usually far easier than doing so financially. Over the duration of your relationship, you and your spouse have probably established numerous joint credit or bank accounts. Immediately after separating, establish your own accounts or lines of credit independent of your spouse and begin monitoring your credit. Monitoring your credit will alert you to late payments on joint assets like homes or vehicles and warn you if your spouse is taking out new lines of credit that you may be partially responsible for repaying.
Get it in Writing
Protect yourself by getting the terms of your separating in writing. If you and your spouse decide that you will remain in the marital home but he or she will pay for half of the utility bills, document your agreement. Having terms in writing will aid both parties in the event of a miscommunication and potentially protect you should the separation lead to divorce proceedings.
Establish a Parenting Pattern
Stability for any children of the relationship should be the primary concern of both parents. Work with your spouse to establish a pattern regarding parenting time or duties that your children are comfortable with. This can help your children adjust to the change and, if child custody later becomes an issue, shows the court what has previously been working for the children in your household.
Retain an Attorney
Though your separation may not automatically mean that a divorce is inevitable, it does indicate that your relationship has hit a major roadblock. Even if you are hoping to resolve your problems with your spouse, it is still in your best interest to prepare for the possibility of a divorce. Talking to a qualified divorce attorney during your separation will ensure that you are making the right decisions and doing everything necessary to protect yourself should a divorce become necessary.
The divorce attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you during each stage of your separation and divorce. With several offices in the Atlanta, Georgia area, we are here whenever you are ready to schedule an initial consultation. Contact our office today to discuss your situation and set up an appointment at a time that is most convenient for you.