What is the Best Way to Protect Yourself During the Divorce Process?

Divorce may be one of the most challenging phases of your life. While there are many logistic steps, the emotions might cloud your ability to advocate for yourself and ensure protection throughout the process. If you or a loved one is going through a divorce, the advice below might be just what you need to hear.
Andy Heller

Andy Heller

Hire a Competent Attorney, Identify Key Divorce Goals, Arrange For a Witness

Hands down the best way to protect oneself during a divorce is to hire a competent attorney. Every divorce is a bit different, so each divorcee will have slightly different challenges and issues to navigate. A good attorney has seen countless divorces, and should be able to help the divorcee protect him or herself.

Here are a couple general tips.

    1. First, force yourself to identify two, no more than three key divorce goals, and compromise elsewhere. Give your attorney these goals, and direct the attorney to do their best to achieve these goals and compromise elsewhere. As an example, a divorcee who wants to protect his or her ability to be an impactful parent, and presents the attorney with custodial time and joint legal custody as one of the two or three goals, is helping to protect this important goal.

    Forcing oneself to identify a limited number of goals, and arming one’s attorney with this information, will help the divorcee avoid a pitfall that affects many in resulting in a lack of focus, and as a result of this lack of focus typically a lessening of achieved goals. There is a secondary benefit to identifying just two or three key goals is that this helps the attorney protect the funds of the divorcee (by compromising on less important items that are not one of the key goals).

    2. One final tip specific to high conflict divorces is to arrange for a witness. An example might be a parenting coordinator to help assist the divorcing couple with arriving at agreements necessary to co-parent effectively. In the event the divorcees are at some point in front of a judge, the utilization of a parenting coordinator, in effect a 3rd party witness, can help to protect the more reasonable and less obstructive of the divorcing couple.

Educate Yourself About Your Rights

The best way to protect yourself in a divorce is to enter into a solid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. If this is not possible, the second best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself as to your rights and obligations as early as possible. Many states have self-help websites and centers where you can learn about how issues related to divorce are decided in your state. You should also consult with an attorney as well as a financial advisor as early as you can in the process.

Dorit L. Goikhman, Esq.

Dorit L. Goikhman, Esq.

Attorney-Mediator, and Founder of .
Richard Sullivan

Richard Sullivan

Founding Partner at .

Be Honest, Stay Away From Social Media, and Establish a Support System

The best thing you can do to protect yourself during a divorce is to be honest. Most importantly, be honest about your financial situation, including all your assets. If the judge later finds out that you attempted to hide assets, they will be less likely to rule in your favor.

Some other things you can do to protect yourself during a divorce including not discussing anything related to the divorce on social media, establishing a support system of people you know you can depend on, and to learn everything you can about the divorce process in your state so you are familiar with what you are entitled to and will know what to expect.

Review Joint Credit Cards, Lines of Credit, and Other Obligations

You can be responsible for all or part of the money spent by your spouse if they go on a spending binge. By canceling any joint credit cards, lines of credit, and other joint liabilities, you may protect yourself. Additionally, be careful to maintain meticulous records of your expenses and debts.

Tia Mula

Tia Mula

Founder of .
Vanessa Lloyd Platt

Vanessa Lloyd Platt

Director of .

Ensure You Have The Right Legal Team

One of the most crucial elements in protecting oneself during a divorce process is to ensure you have the right solicitor [lawyer.] The role of a solicitor is crucial, and it is fundamental that they not only understand the intricacies of your case but are also approachable and reliably contactable. Regrettably, a common complaint we hear from clients changing solicitors is a lack of clear communication, with their previous representative being often unresponsive or not effectively conveying critical information about the case’s progress.

In order to ensure you are effectively protected, it’s essential to have a solicitor who is up to date with the increasingly complex field of family law, particularly if your case involves aspects like sizable financial assets, international law, or a pre-existing prenuptial agreement being disputed. Furthermore, your solicitor should provide regular updates and be able to answer your calls or emails in a timely manner. If you find yourself with any uncertainties about the advice you’re receiving or the progress of your case, it’s important to listen to your instincts and consider seeking alternate representation.

However, before changing solicitors, it is often advisable to give your current solicitor a chance to address your concerns. If you remain unsatisfied after this, that’s the point to consider a change. It’s also essential that the transition is made at an appropriate time, taking into account the progress of your case and any impending legal proceedings.

Lastly, it’s also important to note that changing solicitors is not always the best or necessary course of action. Sometimes, seeking a second opinion can provide reassurance that your case is on the right track, thereby renewing your confidence in your current solicitor.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.