Posted on: 5 April 2017
It is generally a good idea to inform your spouse the minute you decide to divorce them. Blindsiding someone with divorce papers can create bitterness and lead to an acrimonious divorce. However, there are a few cases in which it's dangerous to inform your spouse before taking a few precautions. Here are three examples of those situations:
You Suspect Your Spouse May Run Away with The Kids
If you suspect that your spouse may commit parental kidnapping, then you should take precautions to prevent that from happening before announcing your intention to divorce. This may be the case, for example, if your partner has been absent from the child's life, has threatened to abduct the kids in the past or has a history of child abuse and fear that they may not get custody in court.
In such a case, it's wise to take these precautions first:
- Get contacts of your spouse's relatives and friends – those are the people they may contact first in case they run away with the kid.
- Maintain a current description and pictures of the kid.
- Get and preserve identifying information about your partner; include things like passport number, physical description, social security number, and driver's license.
- Consult an attorney to help you get a custody order in place as soon as possible.
Your Partner Has a History of Physical Abuse and You Fear a Repeat
Secondly, you should be cautious about informing your partner about your divorce intentions if you suspect that they may abuse you. Some people get bitter and angry when their partners want to leave them, and resort to physical abuse. They may lock you inside the house, take away your car keys, destroy your credit cards or even deny you access to the phone. If you suspect that your spouse is like that – maybe they have done so in the past – take precautions to protect yourself before announcing your divorce intentions. Depending on the circumstances, it might even be wise to leave the home to protect yourself; consult an attorney to help you make the decision.
You Suspect Your Spouse May Hide Assets from You
Lastly, you should also be careful with your divorce announcements if you suspect your spouse may hide assets from you and lock you out of the marital funds. Use these measures to preempt such an eventuality first:
- Put some money aside so that your partner's actions can't leave you financially destitute.
- Get and preserve copies of financial records, such as tax returns, asset deeds and bank accounts and statements.
- Open a new bank account and credit cards in your name.
- Change beneficiaries on your estate plans (such as life insurance and trusts) and instruct the relevant organizations not to send automatic notifications to your spouse.
- Inventories all properties you own jointly and separately.