Taking the decision to divorce or separate from you partner is never easy. If this is something you are considering there are a number of precautions you should think about prior to announcing your desire to separate.
1. Change any PIN code and password for access to your Internet banking. Whilst it is unlikely you would have announced these to one and all, mention may have been made of them whilst you were together as it is unlikely to have been of issue between you both. More unlikely is that your partner could remember them as people generally have enough difficulty remembering their own various passwords and PIN numbers. However, prevention of a problem is often much less painless and cheaper than the cure.
2. In respect of any joint account held by you both, a letter to the bank confirming no overdraft facility or increase in the existing overdraft facility should be granted without your written authority. Be aware that if you confirm to the bank the fact you are separating, they will, usually as precautionary measure, freeze the account which can cause significant inconvenience with regard to hurried transfers of direct debits.
3. In order to preserve what will be a new found desire for privacy, you should ensure the deletion of temporary Internet files and browsing history. Also, ensure that all private email communication is deleted not only from in box and sent items but also permanently deleted from trash. Whilst people who are in a relationship are unlikely to go snooping, it would only be natural to do so following a separation when faced with temptation. If you previously had a joint e-mail facility you should endeavour to set up a new one in your sole name and confirm the position to all your contacts. Also be aware that friends can often be put in a situation of having to choose between yourself and your partner. Friends of you both as a couple may not necessarily be friends of you both individually. E-mail correspondence or attachments sent are easily forwarded and reproduced. It can be embarrassing to see these unguarded notes reproduced to solicitors and appearing as attachments to statements before the Court.
4. Social Net Sites and Networks. You should change passwords to these and carefully edit your friends who have full access to your pages. It is certainly best not to comment on various aspects of your separation or legal case in any event. We have found from experience, whilst not necessarily directly relevant, any resulting ill feeling can have a knock on effect when it comes to trying to settle matters amicably.
5. Letters and Post. Whilst to tamper with another person's post is technically a criminal offence, we have yet to see a prosecution take place and it is again a question of temptation. Correspondence from solicitors regarding intimate or financial matters can be redirected by the Post Office for a small fee but can take time to set up. However, certainly for new and particularly solicitor's correspondence, a closely situated relative or chosen friend may be willing to act as a postbox for you.
6. A Will. Make a new Will! In the absence of Will you will fall into the vagaries of the rules of intestacy which it is doubtful will lead your money and assets in what would have been your chosen path. A simple Will is relatively inexpensive to apply certainty. The beneficial interest in jointly held property should also be "severed” and your resulting presumed half share can pass under the terms of your Will rather than to automatically go the co-owner of the property.
7. Pension Death in Service Benefits. Review your pension arrangements. Whilst you only may have been a recent member of a pension scheme, because death in service benefits are usually insurance backed, they can be substantial from the outset. Most schemes enable you to exercise a right of nomination as to who would receive those death benefits although some require they go to a spouse. They include not only lump sums but also dependants' allowances. You should contact your pension providers and make further investigation.
For further information on any of the above issues raised please contact Lee Marston, Lee.firstname.lastname@example.org