Separation or Divorce Checklist: Changes You Should Make

USA Today recently published an article describing five online changes that you need to make when you are getting a divorce. However, there are more than just internet changes you need to make. Here is a suggested separation or divorce checklist of changes that people should make:

  1. Passwords. Most couples share their passwords. You don’t want your spouse checking your email account or any other social networking accounts, bank statements, credit card accounts, PayPal, etc.  Make sure you use a new password that is unique and unlike other passwords you have previously used. Additionally, you should change your security questions. Your spouse is likely to know your maiden name, your mother’s maiden name, etc. Change the answers to something your spouse does not know. Lastly, change these passwords on a computer you do not share with your spouse so that he/she cannot use spyware to find out the new passwords.

  1. Shared Accounts. Stop using shared accounts such as shared Facebook, Netflix, iCloud, etc. In fact, close down shared accounts completely. By continuing using shared accounts, your spouse can see what you are doing, buying, pictures you are posting, etc. Additionally, if you have credit cards programmed into these accounts, your spouse can make purchases. You are no longer together, and your internet life should not be together either.

  1. Shared Gadgets. Stop using shared gadgets, such as tablets, phones, computers, etc. These gadgets store passwords, credit card information, etc. Wipe these gadgets of their history and passwords and stop using them.

  1. Secure your Gadgets. Your spouse, especially if he/she is jealous or has been planning a separation, could have installed spyware or tracking systems on your gadgets. Make sure they are clean and that your spouse does not have access to them. You don’t want your spouse tracking you after the separation.

  1. Social Media. You do not want to stay friends with your spouse on social media. Do not just ignore your spouse; unfriend him/her and set your profile to private so your spouse cannot see what you are doing. Also, be careful what you post online. Divorce attorneys can use social media in divorces for purposes of child custody and distribution of property.

  1. Bank Accounts. Money in the account that was accumulated during marriage is considered marital property and should be split during the divorce. However, money that you earn after your separation is your separate money. You should be putting this money in your own account where your spouse does not have access. If your husband or wife does start a personal account and you cannot live without these funds, speak to your attorney for a spousal support petition. You may be able to receive spousal support while waiting for the divorce litigation to begin.

  1. Take Inventory. For your divorce, you will need to know the amounts in your accounts at the time of separation. Also, take inventory of property and assets you hold as a marital couple. If you need to leave something behind when you move out, take pictures. Your spouse may sell assets during the separation to try to cheat you out of the profits. You want to have proof of the assets and their condition to be able to prove worth at the time of divorce.

  1. Make Copies. Make copies of all important documents, including tax returns, e-mails, financial statements, bank account statements, life insurance statements, retirement account statements, and any other important documents. These will be needed for the divorce and proof of marital assets in case your spouse tries to hide assets in the divorce.

Heading into a divorce is a difficult time. Make sure you consult with an attorney and use common sense when preparing for a separation and divorce. Contact the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Abear Law Offices with any questions you may have. With five offices in Illinois, we can help you will all of your divorce, property, and custody needs.