Can I continue to use my credit cards?
Act in a conservative, financially prudent manner. Avoid extravagant purchases or consult your lawyer first. If you use credit cards in your normal course of business and for your everyday needs, you may continue to use them. However, confirm with your credit card companies that you have credit in your name and that your spouse hasn’t cancelled the credit cards.
Can I change the locks on the house?
No, unless you have a court order granting you exclusive use and possession of the house. If you are concerned about your safety, consider getting a restraining order. This would usually include granting you temporary possession of the house.
What about wedding gifts?
This is a thorny issue. In most jurisdictions, gifts given to one of the parties are not considered “marital” property and, thus, remain the “separate” property for the recipient. However, for joint gifts, you and your spouse will need to come up with a fair way of dividing them. If you cannot do so, seek the help of a trained mediator.
Can I make my spouse sign a joint tax return?
Typically, no. During your divorce, get the advice of a good CPA as to what makes the most sense financially. If you are still married as of December 31 of the tax year in question, you can file a “married but separate” tax return.
Will my spouse be required to return to work?
This will depend on your circumstances and finances. Without question, after your separation, you and your family may experience tremendous financial strains. any people choose to seek employment or return to work to make ends meet, and others are required to do so as part of an alimony agreement. However, talk with your lawyer and a good financial advisor to help plan your options.
What about my “prenup”?
You should talk with your lawyer about the impact of a prenuptial agreement on your divorce. Usually, it will be enforceable if it meets certain strict criteria, including whether it was entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of all finances. A judge may scrutinize whether any provisions for alimony are fair at the time of your divorce.
Can I change the judge?
only in rare circumstances can you change the judge. You would have to prove blatant bias or a conflict of interest. The best thing you can do to avoid going through a trial is to settle your case out of court. This will almost always save you a lot of money and emotional stress.
What should I wear to court?
Dress as if you are going for a job interview. Dress in conservative styles and colors. Remember, you are putting your fate in the hands of a judge who has likely never met you and who has a short period of time to make crucial judgments about your character and trustworthiness.
What if I don’t show up in court?
You will piss the judge off. Definitely contact a lawyer to determine whether you can present any valid excuses. Judges sometimes will give litigants a second chance to present their cases, particularly when crucial issues are at stake, such as child custody and alimony.
Can I buy a house?
It is better to avoid making major purchases during the divorce. Your lawyer can and should help you plan for this purchase, and a settlement can be structured to best position you to buy a house once the divorce is finished.