There are many reasons that you might be secretly planning to get divorced in Greenville, South Carolina. By secretly, we mean that you have not told your spouse yet, and you do not intend to until you are ready to go, or perhaps until after you go. It may be that you are in danger or that you wish to ease out of the situation without further drama. You might be concerned for your children, your pets, or for the malicious or violent nature of your spouse. You may simply worry that mentioning it will quickly lead to homelessness when you are not prepared to stand on your own two feet alone just yet. Whatever the reason, if you have decided that it is in your best interests to plan your divorce in secret until you are able and ready to walk away from the relationship, then we have some advice for how you can be prepared for the moment that you reveal your plans. Having said that, if you are in immediate danger of domestic violence, there are resources to help you get out of that situation safely.
Setting Up a Secret Post Office Box for Private Mail Correspondence
One of the first things you need to do in preparing to separate from your spouse, especially if you are preparing in secret, is to set up a secret post office box to receive private mail. Get the post office box in your name only and keep the key in a safe place. This can help you to avoid questions about the various correspondences you may receive while planning for divorce.
Start Saving Money for the Upcoming Living Expenses and Legal Expenses
One of the most common concerns for people who want to prepare for divorce in secret is that they will not have the money to take care of themselves and their legal fees. In some cases, the spouse who wants to get divorced does not have a job. In other cases, they do have a job, but do not have control over their finances. It is important to start saving money ahead of time. Even if you are only able to tuck away a few dollars at a time, the sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be. Even a small amount of money saved will add up over time. If your spouse is controlling with the finances, then you may find it more difficult to do this, but it is usually possible to slowly build your savings. If you have family or friends who are willing to help you financially, then this may be one route to consider. You may also be able to apply for a personal loan. You can open up a new savings account and checking account that is in your name only and use your post office box to receive documents related to those accounts.
Collect and Organize Your Financial Records and Other Relevant Documents
The next important thing to do is going to be to gather and organize all of your financial records and other relevant documents. You can store this information in a safe deposit box or with friends or family, as you will not want to leave these documents laying around for your spouse to discover and start asking questions. Make sure that you keep everything in a safe place. Among these documents, you will want statements from your joint bank accounts, your private bank accounts, your wills, your insurance policies, your medical directives, your mortgages, your car title, and any other relevant documents.
Once you’ve gathered these documents, you can start making the necessary changes. Many of the changes you make will have to be revisited when your divorce is final, but you can get started on making changes now. It is also important, while doing this, to be aware that many changes may result in a phone call to your spouse to request their signature or authorization. You may be able to circumvent this by contacting the companies in advance and requesting that they not make those calls or at least finding out if that is an option. If there is too much risk for any given situation, then you can postpone those particular changes. The reason we suggest that you start making changes in advance is that you don’t want your spouse whom you wish to separate from to remain as your beneficiary or as the person who will make your medical decisions in the event of a medical emergency.
Identify and List the Properties that are Marital Assets and Non-Marital Assets
Another thing to pay attention to as you prepare for divorce and start gathering your documents is which assets are jointly owned as marital property and which assets are yours alone. This will include some of the things in those documents, such as vehicle titles, mortgage documents, and other properties that have paperwork to establish ownership. It will also include properties in your home. It will include your furniture, your electronics, your jewelry, etc. It’s a good idea to take pictures of property that may ‘come up missing’ once you file for divorce or leave the home.
Make a complete list of the things that you own outside of the marriage and the things that are jointly owned. The property that you came into the marriage with is going to be mostly non-marital property. Any property that was given as a gift directly to you and not to both of you is also non-marital property. The same is true for inheritances that are yours alone. Any gifts that were given to you by your spouse are also yours alone. If you have any doubts about any particular property or asset, make a note of this to discuss it further with your attorney. Then, when you’re ready, contact the compassionate Greenville, South Carolina, divorce attorneys at Greenville Family Law to find out how we can help.