Monday, January 2, 2012

When Should I File? 10 Signs to Watch For

Everyone facing a divorce will wonder to some extent if it's the right time to file. If any of the following conditions exist, you should seriously consider filing for divorce -- after talking with an attorney. It is best to get the professional opinion of an experienced attorney to review your situation and make sure it is in your best interest to take that step and do it now.

If any of these things are happening, you should probably consider filing right away.

1. Violence. If there has been violence directed against you or your children, you probably need to get out. You may be able to get your spouse kicked out, but you should take whatever steps are necessary for the safety of you and your kids.

2. Abandonment. If your spouse has left, that's a pretty clear signal that the marriage is over. You should file to protect yourself financially and to take care of your kids (if you have any).

3. Hiding of Assets. If you discover, or suspect, that your spouse is hiding assets from you, a consultation with an attorney can help you decide what action to take to prevent the loss of assets.

4. Wasting or Disposing of Assets. If your spouse is spending money irresponsibly or getting rid of assets, you need to put a stop to it. Consult with an attorney about getting a restraining order.

5. Your Gut Feeling. Sometimes you just know that the time is right. You may not be able to put your finger on a specific reason or cause, but you know it's time.

6. Counseling Doesn't Work. You've tried counseling and you just didn't get the issues resolved. Often the party not initiating counseling is resistant and won't put in the effort to make changes. It's usually a good idea to try working with a counselor, but (as you undoubtedly know) you can't make your spouse change unless he or she wants to.

7. Hiding the Kids. If this is going on, you need to act right away. Go see an attorney!

8. Alienating the Kids. This is less obvious, but you may start seeing signs if the kids suddenly start avoiding you or saying hateful things to you. You need to get into court, get the kids into counseling and get some controls over your spouse. It is very difficult to stop and undo such behavior.

9. Running Away. If your spouse has run away with the kids, you need to get into court and get an order to get the kids back. Go see an attorney right away. You don't want to wait and allow your spouse to establish legal residence somewhere else.

10. Spouse is About to File. If you find out your spouse is about to file for divorce, you need to meet with an attorney and decide whether to try to beat your spouse to the courthouse or just prepare for a first court hearing. Either way, you need to consult with an attorney.

Hopefully, this list will help you think about the decision of when to file. The most important part of the decision is talking with an attorney to evaluate the situation. Good luck!

No comments: