While going through a marital separation is never easy, taking some time to cool down and live apart from your spouse can help you both get a fresh perspective on the situation. However, it is important during this time to be realistic and to keep in mind the problems and issues you face in your marriage. In some cases, couples may end up reconciling, whereas in other situations a separation may end in divorce. To protect yourself, the following steps outline what to do when separating from marriage.
Protecting Yourself During A Marital Separation
Under the South Carolina Statutes, there is no such thing as a legal separation in our state. While you can have your attorney draft and file a separation agreement outlining the terms under which you are living separate and apart, there is nothing to compel your spouse to sign it, and it can prove challenging to enforce in court.
However, there are still important steps you should take to protect yourself while you wait to see whether your marital problems can be resolved. Here are 5 steps for helping you in what to do when separating from marriage:
Open your own bank account. Establishing yourself as being independent of your spouse is an important first step to take. Even if you do not completely eliminate joint accounts, set up your own savings fund and have your paychecks directly deposited into it.
Reestablish your own credit. Over the course of your marriage, you and your partner likely took out your fair share of debts. Make every attempt to pay these off now with joint funds, and open an individual credit card in your name only to re-establish your credit.
Gather important documents. While you still have access to your home, joint accounts, and other financial assets, it is important to gather copies of all important documents which could prove valuable in the event of a divorce. In addition to items such as marriage licenses, birth certificates, and social security numbers, get recent statements for all debts, as well as for bank accounts, investments, and retirement benefits.
Make an inventory of all belongings. In addition to financial accounts, go through all personal property you own individually, along with marital property you and your spouse earned or accumulated together. Make a list of all items, their value, and where they are located.
Focus on yourself and your family. Forbes advises that it is important to remember that you are still married during a separation and to forego dating. Realize that any behaviors or activities you do engage in now could eventually be used against you in potential divorce proceedings.
Contact Us Today For Help
The breakup of a marriage is always difficult, which is why you need someone you can trust on your side. At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC we provide professional legal representation to help protect you throughout your separation and in the event you do file for divorce. Contact our Aiken family law attorneys today and request a consultation to discuss your case.