Many Virginia residents know someone, either a relative or friend, who has been completely blind-sided by a divorce. He or she was living a regular, happy life when the other spouse came home one day and declared the marriage was over and there was no possible means of reconciliation. It may be hard to imagine there were no signs of problems, but sometimes one spouse has moved on while the other clings to the comfort and stability of the past. However, when a split seems all but inevitable, it can prove beneficial to begin preparation sooner rather than later.

The laws are clear that neither party in a divorce can hide assets or be anything less than completely honest in dealing with a pending divorce, but the reality is often different. Legal experts stress the importance of having full financial records as an imperative before initiating any divorce proceedings. This includes bank records, property deeds, retirement accounts, and perhaps most importantly, an accurate accounting of all debts and liabilities. By doing so, the individual is acquiring all the documentation needed but is also getting a good feel for the issues that will impact how the property division may play out.

Another issue is to ensure one has an available source of cash as the matter proceeds. Placing resources in a separate account is merely a means to protect oneself from the other spouse freezing or otherwise making joint assets unavailable. It is also a good idea to establish credit in the individual’s name and not as a couple.

Finally, it’s wise to seek the services of an experienced divorce attorney. It may be prudent to interview two or three to determine not only competence in the field but also compatibility in terms of the attorney and client working arrangement.