- You may want to consider stopping any voluntary contributions from your pay (such as 401(k) plans, deferred compensation, credit union accounts, etc.), additional deposits to private savings, purchase of additional assets (including furnishings, purchase of credit for retirement, etc.) as most assets are valued at time of trial, and your attempts to save money now will most likely result in your spouse’s receiving one-half of any monies/increase in value of assets (including retirement savings plans) that occur between the time of filing and trial.
- Please obtain copies of all financial documents that we will need in your representation and sign a release if we ask you to do so. This release should be taken to your pension department.
- At least ten (10) days before your hearing, provide us with your latest pay stub, your spouse’s pay stub if available, as well as receipts verifying your child care costs. Also provide us with your cost for health insurance for family and what it would cost for just yourself, as this “marginal” amount is required for child support computation.
- Protect your personal property by making a recorded inventory (pictures or video) of all household goods and furnishings in or around your home. Also itemize your personal property and provide us with your opinion of its fair market value. This is not the replacement value, but the cost of an item of the same age and condition as your property (think of a garage sale – what would a buyer be willing to pay you for the item?)
- If the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (custody) is at issue, please fill out the parental skills worksheet and begin having people (with first hand knowledge of your parenting skills) fill out the custody witness forms.
- If parenting rights (custody) are at issue, begin to keep a diary and calendar and maintain this diary until the case is completely over, which can sometimes mean when the children attain adulthood. Keep information about parenting time/visitation, support problems, healthcare expense reimbursements, extracurricular activity enrollment and expenses, problems with access to information about the children and/or support problems.
- Remember that a child has, and needs, two parents, and absent unusual circumstances that place the child at risk (such as use of alcohol or drugs, violence or mental instability of either parent), you should not interfere with your child’s reasonable contact with the other parent, even without a court order. Please immediately discuss any problems in this regard with us. Remember that the best parenting time plan you can make is your own plan, tailored to your own children’s needs and circumstances, including time availability, extracurricular events, and the like.
- Remember to update us in writing of any changes of any information you have previously provided, such as residence or mailing address, telephone number, cellular telephone number, employer, wages, etc.
- You might want to consider changing your Will if it currently provides for all of your assets to pass to your spouse. You will want to discuss this with us in detail before making such a decision, but keep in mind that a divorce in Summit County may take as long as 12 to 18 months or more to complete even without children.
- If you or your children have been the victim of physical or emotional abuse from your spouse, you may be entitled to file a civil suit for damages. The statute of limitations in these type of cases may be as short as one (1) year from the date the incident occurred. If you need more information about your rights in this regard, please provide us with a written history of the problems and any proof of damages such as medical bills, psychological bills, lost wages and so on.
- You will want to close any credit accounts in your name or transfer balances to a new card to which your spouse would not have access. You may wish to have the account re-opened but without any authorized user other than yourself.
- You will want to get a copy of your credit report and review it for any items that you never knew existed, or discrepancies on accounts.
- If you have a combined cellular telephone account with your spouse, be aware that he/she can obtain a detailed log of all your calls and text messages. You may want to open your own plan, and you may want to change service providers. Be aware that cellular telephone calls can be intercepted anywhere.
- If you have a smart phone, there are location applications available, sometimes running in the background without your knowledge or permission. You may want to have an expert check your phone for such tracking applications.
- If you have previously shared a computer or email accounts with your spouse, be aware that your rights of privacy may have been compromised and waived. You may want to open a new email account or change passwords and permanently delete some files. In some cases, you may want to take your computer to an expert in order to discover key loggers or other spy programs that have been installed without your knowledge.
- If your spouse shows up unexpectedly in the same places you are, you may want to have your vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic for tracking devices planted without your knowledge or permission. If you suspect that you are being followed, please talk to us about anti-stalking protection orders and criminal prosecution.
- Be aware that if you use your employer’s equipment to send personal email, even on your personal email account and not the employer’s email account, your employer has every right to read and review the content of those email messages. Your telephone calls placed from the workplace can also be monitored without your permission. The attorney-client privilege will not apply to communication taking place on the employer’s equipment.
THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED TO BE A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS OF DIVORCE AND IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE ON YOUR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS ONLY INTENDED TO ASSIST YOU IN UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS.
IF YOU SHOULD HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE OFFICE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT – 330-996-4099.