Avoiding Common Divorce Mistakes With A Simple Checklist


Individuals approaching or going through divorce in North Carolina may be able to avoid some common pitfalls by checking specific items off a list that they have prepared in advance. Many of the most common problems for divorcing couples have to do with gathering information while access remains and reorganizing certain areas of life to prevent access to information by an ex-spouse.

For example, it is generally a good idea to get a post office box and have mail redirected there as soon as divorce becomes likely. Spouses have the right to open mail sent to the couple jointly, but neither party should have access to private communications, like documents sent by legal counsel. Likewise, divorcing spouses should create new email accounts and change log-in information for existing email, social media and other accounts.

Additionally, wills should be updated and beneficiaries changed on insurance policies, retirement accounts and other transfer-on-death instruments. For retirement accounts that have to be divided pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order, it is the responsibility of the parties to make sure that the order is properly prepared and submitted.

Financial documents are often important in divorce proceedings, particularly when it comes to property division, and so individuals should gather them while they can. Prior to divorce, such documents may be stored in a cabinet in the home office, but they may be more difficult to access once the divorce process has begun.

Finally, the parties to a divorce should pull their own credit reports and examine them for discrepancies or debts that properly belong to a spouse. An attorney with experience in family law can often help a client prepare for divorce by examining assets and liabilities and providing advice regarding finances and custody matters.