Going through a divorce is an emotional and often tumultuous time in a person’s life. If efforts to reconcile with your spouse are no longer viable, and you find yourself at the beginning of a divorce in South Carolina, it is time to start an action plan. Although it is difficult to do so, approaching the situation calmly and treating the end of your marriage like the dissolution of a business is important.
To protect your legal and financial interests in a divorce:
Close all joint accounts and separate non-marital assets.
In South Carolina, marital property is divided “equitably” during a divorce. Ending a marriage is like ending a joint venture business, and if you and your spouse are separating, it is time to separate your finances. It is common for individuals going through a divorce to wonder how much money they should take out of their joint account for their own use before closing the account. This depends on the circumstances of each person and each marriage. If you are unsure of what to do, this is something you can discuss with your attorney.
Make copies of important legal and financial documents.
Information on documents like bank statements, credit card statements, and tax returns include important details that may be relevant in determining child support, spousal support (alimony), and even the proper grounds for divorce. In South Carolina, there are five grounds for divorce: one-year separation, adultery, habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse, physical cruelty, and desertion. Details in your bank or credit card statements may provide evidence in support of one of these grounds.
Hire an experienced divorce attorney.
During a divorce, you need an advocate more than ever. An experienced divorce attorney in South Carolina can help negotiate the division of your assets, child custody agreements, and spousal support to serve your best interests. Whether or not your spouse is represented by counsel, an attorney who understands the nuances of divorce laws in South Carolina can help you obtain the best result possible.
Apply for an Order of Separation and Maintenance.
Once you decide to end your marriage, you may need to file for Separate Support and Maintenance prior to filing for Divorce. While South Carolina does not technically provide for “legal separations”, an Order of Separation and Maintenance can accomplish many of the same goals including establishing a date by which to measure the accrual of debts by either spouse.
Put a child custody and visitation plan in writing.
In a relatively amicable divorce, spouses may feel that they are capable of reaching a child custody and visitation plan on their own and do not require a court order or formal agreement; however, it is much better for everyone involved, especially the children, to have a formal written agreement detailing your plan. Otherwise, if one parent violates your informal, verbal agreement, you will not be able to enforce that agreement.
Conserve your money and keep track of your expenses.
Whether you or your spouse were the primary breadwinner in the marriage, it is wise to save as much money as you can—as divorces are expensive—and keep detailed records of your expenses, which will come in handy in spousal support and asset division negotiations.
Update your will and other beneficiary information.
You may also want to consider updating your estate plan, including your will and any other beneficiary information, while you are going through a divorce. If you become deceased before your divorce is final, your soon-to-be-ex spouse could possibly inherit your assets.
Divorce is always challenging and emotional. Consider hiring an experienced divorce attorney in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to help you navigate through the legalities and negotiations of this difficult process. Contact us today.