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Important steps to protect yourself before a divorce

Whether you are considering divorce, you believe that your spouse may be, or you have reached a mutual decision to end your marriage, there are things that you need to do to protect yourself financially. Many people believe that their spouse would never do anything to harm them financially when the marriage ends. Too many people, sadly, find that this isn't the case.

If you have any concerns about the state of your marriage, there are things that you can do to protect yourself. Some of these are wise even if you're happily married. Here are a few:

-- Have an account in your name only with some emergency funds.

-- If you have valuable jewelry, keep these items in a safe deposit box in your name only.

-- Know what your joint financial situation is. Too often, one spouse maintains control of the finances. Both should always be aware of their assets, debts and tax information.

If divorce seems to be imminent, talk with a California family law attorney. He or she can provide you with helpful information and advice to protect yourself. This may include one or more of the following:

-- If you have children and are concerned about a custody battle, keep a journal to show your involvement in your children's lives and/or your spouse's lack of involvement.

-- If you have an estate plan that lists your spouse as your power of attorney or the person who can make decisions in the event of a health crisis, you may want to amend this.

-- Be careful about what you post on Facebook, Instagram or other social media. A night out with the girls or guys may seem harmless enough. However, it can be used against you. Many California family law attorneys advise their clients to stay off of social media completely.

Many people choose to remain in denial that their marriage is falling apart until they simply have to face the reality. However, denial can be costly. It's essential to take the initiative to protect yourself. You may seriously regret it if you don't.

Source: Huffington Post, "6 Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce," Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 02, 2016

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