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Two Actions to Take Before Separating from Your Spouse
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and in the context of divorce, this adage rings true. If you are considering separating from your spouse and filing for divorce, it is important that you prepare for both the legal process and the fact that you and your spouse will soon be living apart. From budgeting to finding emotional support, a pre-separation checklist should rival the importance, if not the thickness, of a commercial airliner takeoff manual. However, if you only have the time or the energy for a few pre-separation preparations, then here are two actions that all spouses should consider before separating from their spouse:

  1. Equally Divide Joint Bank Accounts: Many married couples share one or two joint bank accounts that comprise the entirety of their savings. Especially in this situation, it is critical to equally divide bank accounts prior to separating and filing for divorce. Without doing so, a spouse risks losing access to his or her only source of liquid assets should the other spouse drain the entirety of those accounts out of fear or spite. And while this situation may be remedied through litigation in court, the process to do so can take months or longer and can leave a spouse without the funds necessary to afford an attorney.
  2. Fairly Divide All Personal Property: If you are the spouse relocating to a new residence, assume that all belongings you leave behind in the marital residence will never be seen again. This is because courts have a difficult time making rulings on personal property issues in the process of litigation. Therefore, it is important that you secure all personal property and belongings that you would like from the marital residence before you leave. A good rule of thumb is that you may take half of the items (or equivalent value) acquired during marriage and all of the personal property that you brought into the marriage. If time or safety prevents you from doing so before you leave, then take date-stamped pictures of all items in the home that you believe have any value, and make an itemized, room-by-room list of all personal property in the home on the day you leave.

A good pre-separation checklist will have twenty items on it, not two, but every preparation you take counts. Our legal team at Koenig|Dunne has decades of experience advising clients on how to prepare for separation and divorce. Contact us today to learn more.

David Pontier

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Preparing to be Unprepared
I found myself careening down a mountain, my hands gripping the steering wheel, and rarely uttered prayers slipping out of my mouth up toward the heavens. The gas gauge read 0 miles. Zero. None. No more. I had already gone 7 miles on 0 miles of gas left in my tank and panic was setting in. 

This had never happened to me. By sheer will alone I am sure, I coasted into a tiny gas station in middle-of-nowhere Oregon to refill my tank. I started to cry once I plugged the gas pump into my tank.  Pure relief and something more surprising washed over me – shame. 

My daughters and each of their friends on our road trip were confused by my reaction. “Mom, it was going to be fine. We would have gotten gas one way or the other.” For me it was more than that. 

Coach's Corner
with Susan Ann Koenig
Never Too Late

“Your hair’s getting long,” he said, noticing my coronavirus coiffure. Gerry has such an eye for beauty and style that the home he and Bob share was once featured on the glossy pages of the Inspired Living as one of the loveliest in the city. I held my breath, sensing he was about to be honest with me. “You look younger,” he said. 

I smiled. I thanked him. I didn’t tell him it wasn’t my hair. I was about to turn 65 and I was getting younger. 

Now there’s no denying that the laugh lines in my face have deepened in the last decade, but for years I have rejected the constant cultural messages that aging is a sentence to pain, weakness, and disability. Twenty years ago when I bought the building that had 24 stairs to the second floor flat, people asked with concern, “Aren’t you worried you won’t be able to climb all those stairs someday?” I was 45. 


Who is Koenig|Dunne?
For over 35 years, the Koenig|Dunne team has been helping people pick up the pieces of their life to make a new start. Bringing a family business back from the brink of financial ruin. Sheltering a child from the conflict of a custody battle. We do this work because its work we know matters.

Whether an amicable collaboration or lengthy litigation lies ahead, we’re the team who will empower you on your path to a better future, from start to finish. That’s a promise. We promise you – we will see you, hear you, and stand by you. Learn More
Guidance when you want it. Strength because you need it.
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