People talk about their relationships all the time – it’s only natural. However, not all conversations are created equal.
If you hear any of the following 10 things when chatting with your friends and family, you should consider recommending a conversation with a divorce lawyer.
#10 – “I’m getting separated.” “I’m getting divorced.” “We’re having a trial separation.”
If your friend or family member is getting separated or divorced, or thinking about it, getting advice early on can change the outcome of a case. Also, understanding what may or may not happen in separation and divorce will alleviate a lot of their stress and anxiety.
#9 – “I’m getting married.”
If your friend or family member is getting married, they should consider whether they need or want to protect any of their existing assets. It’s a good idea to consider a prenuptial agreement if they have assets, have or are starting a business, or have children from a prior marriage. Even if they do not want a prenuptial agreement, a divorce lawyer can advise them how to maintain their non-marital and separate assets in ways to best protect them in the event of a divorce.
#8 – “My spouse is cheating on me.” “I think my spouse is cheating on me.” “My spouse always leaves the house and never tells me where he or she is going.” “I found a jewelry receipt for a gift I never received from my spouse.” “A friend found my spouse on a dating app.”
Even if your friend or family member does not want a separation or divorce, these may be red flags that their spouse is thinking otherwise. Getting advice early on can protect your friend or family member in case a separation or divorce comes to fruition.
#7 – “I found a card or contact information for a divorce lawyer in my spouse’s possession.”
Even if your friend or family member does not want a separation or divorce, this may be a sign that their spouse is thinking otherwise. Consulting with a divorce lawyer early on can protect your friend or family member in the event a separation or divorce occurs.
#6 – “My spouse and I are going back and forth arguing by email or text.”
What couple doesn’t argue sometimes? This may not be a sign that anything is coming, but in the event that it does, those emails and texts will likely be evidence and could be harmful to your friend or family member in their divorce. A divorce lawyer can help advise them on how to manage those communications.
#5 – “My parent died. I’m getting an inheritance.”
If your friend or family member is married, and even if it’s a healthy and happy marriage, one day it might not be. In divorces in Maryland and the District of Columbia, if one spouse receives an inheritance and can show the assets that they have at the time of divorce are directly traceable to their inheritance, even if it was decades earlier, then they keep it. The key is that they must be able to show that it’s directly traceable, so they must hold it and care for it in a specific manner. Seeing a divorce lawyer early on is key to knowing how to hold onto their inheritance in the event of divorce. As a divorce lawyer, I see a lot of people who did not appropriately hold their money, and a lot of time and money is spent on these arguments. Had they just had a simple consultation early on, that money would be protected.
#4 – “My spouse opened a new account without telling me.” “My spouse diverted his or her paycheck into an account in his or her individual name, where we previously shared accounts.” “My spouse moved money out of our joint account.“
While it’s not uncommon for parties to have separate finances, hiding the finances from each other is not a good sign. In the event of a divorce, you want to know where the money is, what assets there are, and how you can access them if needed. A divorce lawyer can help you gather this information.
#3 – “My spouse and I are buying a home together, but we are only titling it in the name of my spouse.”
How does this effect your friend or family member in the event of separation or divorce? They should discuss with a divorce lawyer before moving forward with what is likely one of their family’s largest assets.
#2 – “My partner and I are buying a home together, but we aren’t getting married. Maybe we are going to marry or maybe we aren’t.”
How does this effect your friend or family member in the event they break up, decide to sell, or one of them wants to sell but the other doesn’t? These are important questions that they should discuss with a divorce lawyer before moving forward with what is likely to be one of their largest assets and discuss the possibility of an ownership agreement.
#1 – “My partner and I are having a baby together. Maybe we are going to marry or maybe we aren’t.“
If your friend or family member is not, or not yet, married, custody and child support issues are likely to surface. A divorce lawyer can give them an understanding of these issues and how to approach them.
“If you hear something, say something!” If you hear a friend, family member or colleague say any of these things, pointing them in the direction of getting sound advice can change their future, and getting that advice early on can often change the outcome of a case. Even if they choose not to take the advice and stay their course, knowledge is power, and having that knowledge will help them make informed decisions.