By Wendy Diaz
You have to understand your marriage regime, and if you don’t, then find someone who can explain it properly to you. Are you married in or out of community of property? If you are married in community of property, you will by law be entitled to 50% of the communal estate.
Obtain as much financial information on your spouse; make copies of all bank statements, credit card statements and the like as well as a schedule of all the assets and liabilities, sources of income etc.
1- Draft a detailed budget of your current monthly expenses and income. For you and your children. It may be worthwhile to cater for future expenses like. Secure the monthly maintenance with a cession of an insurance policy on your ex-spouses life in case he/she is disabled or dies.
2- Try to stay in the family house (if it’s close to your school or work). There is a saying in our law, that possession is 9 tenths of the law. Remaining in the communal home will also stabilize the situation of the children, as it is proven the relocation can be a very traumatic experience for the children.
3- Remember that you shouldn’t necessarily have to pay transfer duties for a property transferred to you during your divorce. You may have various options relating to the property that both of you own, for example by retaining it or selling it and divide the net profits.
4- See to it that your Divorce Settlement Agreement is drafted in such a way that that you can enforce a garnishing order on your ex-spouse’s salary should he/she default on payments, in any event, non-payment of maintenance after divorce may result in a contempt of court application.
5- See to it that your Divorce Settlement Agreement is drafted to obtain a share of any assets that your spouse has hidden and what you are not aware of at the time of divorce in that event that you are married in community of property or out of community of property with the Accrual system.
6- Don’t settle for less to get out, many women simply walk out due to the emotional pressure. Remember that divorce is always a business decision and the decisions that you make now will have an impact only years later in your life. Divorce is a legal process, it can be very frustrating and emotional draining that takes time and strategic planning. Don’t change attorneys in the process simply because of your own frustration, as they say, the battle of divorce is like a chess game.
7- Remember that your ex-spouse’s assets also include shareholdings in companies, retirement funds, pension funds and even tax refunds.8- Think with your head and not with your heart.
9- Remember to change your Will soon after the divorce.