Sometimes tempers flare and even normally sane and even tempered people do insane things during a divorce. One joker at the Courthouse says … some divorce clients are crazy and some just act that way. Divorce is a horrible life experience. The litigants in a divorce are in crisis. People in crisis are unpredictable and sometimes destructive.
Like it or not … emotions run high and people react in strange ways and do things that when they look back on it years from now, they will regret. Meanwhile, great damage can be done, expensive damage. As a result, it is important during a divorce to make sure the property is protected and an angry soon to be ex cannot and does not destroy the value of the property.
Here are some things that should be done:
- Take pictures of everything.
- Pictures resolve disputes about the condition of items, the location of items and the existence of items. I had a case once where the opposing party swore up and down that there never was a Rolex watch. The story went out the window, when I produced a picture with the watch and a calendar on the front seat of his car.
- Make copies of important documents.
- You can almost always get copies of important documents somewhere, but, it takes time and can cost lots of money. If you make a copy, you will have it when you need it.
- Documents also prove what property exists or existed, along with dates the property was acquired or disposed of.
- Secure irreplaceable items.
- Sometimes thing of little general value but great sentimental value will be destroyed by a vindictive soon to be ex-spouse. If it is irreplaceable to you, secure it. Get some temporary storage, a safe deposit box or keep it at a friend’s house.
- You will need to account for these items at the end of the case … but at least they will exist.
- Change your passwords.
- Data is valuable. Accounts will allow transfers, changes and withdrawals if you have the passwords.
- A soon to be ex knows your mother’s maiden name; so now is a time for good passwords and security questions.
- Use your burglar alarm and your auto alarm.
- Change the code, write to the alarm company and let them know that only you can make change. Change the passwords and control terms.
- Turn your alarm on. If it is not on, it is of no use. Keep in mind your soon to be ex knows you had a habit of not turning the alarm on.
- Account for all keys to cars and garage door keys.
- Make sure you have all the keys.
- Get appropriate Court Orders.
- Court Orders are just paper, they cannot stop destruction by someone determined to do it. But they can make entitlement to possession clear and insure financial accountability.
Last and not least … make sure you do not do anything to destroy the value of the property. No matter what you soon to be ex does … do not be egged on. You do not want to be the one answering to a judge for stupid and destructive behavior.
If you are getting a divorce, you need to make sure your property is protected. The items above are just a general list. I suggest you consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you develop a specific property protection plan for your case. You need expert advice and a plan.