For Massachusetts couples considering ending their marriage, the first step might be a trial separation. Physically separating gives each spouse the opportunity to figure out whether divorce is the best decision for them. Whether couples are considering a trial separation or already have decided they are ready to end their marriage, there are a few pieces of advice that may prove beneficial.
The first thing to consider is making sure both parties are aware of the marital financial situation. If one spouse has traditionally handled the financial aspects, such as bill-paying and bank accounts, now would be a good time for the other to familiarize him or herself with these aspects. Separating or divorcing spouses may also wish to consider closing all joint credit accounts and obtaining new credit cards in their own names only, to secure credit history, begin building strong personal credit and avoid being held responsible for an ex's debts.
While separated, either on a trial basis or during divorce proceedings, common advice is to avoid overspending. Frequently, individuals either find themselves depressed and wishing to console themselves, or conversely, wanting to celebrate, but either way, they may be tempted to treat themselves to expensive trips or luxury purchases. This, however, could not only end in future regret once emotions have cooled, but could potentially lead to accusations of asset dissipation during divorce proceedings.
A Massachusetts family law attorney can offer assistance not just in cases of divorce, but even in helping to draw up something called a separation agreement. This legally binding document defines the terms of the separation. Similar to actual divorce proceedings, the agreement usually covers things like asset division, alimony or child support, debt liability and more. Couples with divorce or separation concerns may benefit from contacting a divorce lawyer to explore their options.
Source: forbes.com, "Dos And Dont's Of Marital Separation", Jeff Landers, April 4, 2017