You didn’t think that your relationship was bad enough to result in a divorce, but your spouse proved you wrong as they handed you the divorce paperwork. They claimed they had been unhappy for a long time, even though everything seemed normal on the surface.

Being blindsided by a divorce is difficult, and you haven’t been sure how to cope with it. It’s emotionally straining and financially difficult to deal with divorce. What should you do to make this easier on yourself?

Get in touch with your attorney as soon as you know you’re getting divorced

It is important for you to reach out to your attorney as soon as you know that a divorce is possible. During the early stages of your divorce, you can take steps to minimize the risk of losing assets or settling for less than you deserve.

Ohio recognizes equitable distribution in divorce. That means that your marital assets should be divided fairly, not necessarily equally. As someone who didn’t know a divorce was coming, you’re already at a disadvantage. Your spouse has had time to move assets into their name or to other locations. They have had time to access all the financial documents and to build a case against you.

Your attorney’s job is to help you negotiate and work out a fair divorce settlement, but that means that you need to move quickly. Some of the things you need to collect as soon as possible include:

  • Financial statements
  • Text messages, videos, phone calls or other evidence of wrongdoing on your spouse’s part
  • Information about your assets

It is also a good idea to open up your own bank account and to have your paychecks moved over to that private account. If you continue to pay into a shared account, your spouse will have access to it, even though you may not want them to.

Once you know a divorce is happening, it’s a good idea to discuss what you want with your attorney. Talk about your budget and how the divorce will impact it. Think about the assets that you want, need and don’t care about receiving. Your attorney will talk to you about the assets you need versus what you want, so they know exactly how to negotiate for you. Be honest about your wishes, because your attorney’s job is to help you come out of this divorce in the best shape financially.