Before your divorce
So the decision has been made, or maybe it hasn't, but you are leaning toward leaving. The first thing you must do is get a new cell phone. This is very important; get a new cell phone with not only a camera but the ability to record videos. Anytime something happens that you can use later as evidence, record it. If your wife starts acting irrational, record it. If the kids say anything good about you or bad about her, record them. Get in an argument with your wife, hit record and set the phone down, you may get video of the ceiling, but the audio could win your case. It may not be admissible as evidence, but the judge may listen to it anyway, and in reality, they will take it into consideration. Remember, any evidence is admissible in court if you present it and your wife (or her attorney) doesn't object to it, see what you can get away with.
Along with video, collect any evidence possible. Letters your wife wrote you, pictures that may be incriminating (for you or her), or documents to prove you own something, she cheated, you helped her, whatever you can bring up later. Keep these things away from your home. Remember, she could come up with a story at any time to obtain a restraining order, and the court WILL believe her. At that point you could be barred from your home and anything in it that may help you prove your innocence.
Do check our Forum and ask any questions you may have. I try to answer them promptly.
DO Collect important items such as passports or vehicle titles and put them in a safe place away from your home.
Do bookmark this page (Ctrl -D) and use the forms page above to download the forms you will need to file and serve on your wife. Keep these forms at work or at your trusted person's home/work. DO NOT let your wife find them, fill them out online if possible, then print them to be filed. Fill them out completely and neatly. Explain what needs explaining in only the amount of detail needed, but keep everything as short and simple as possible. Include as many facts as possible.
DO NOT, and I mean under no circumstances let your wife's lifestyle improve; conversely don't let your lifestyle diminish. These may very well come into play when it is time to divide up the assets. DON'T move out; offer to help her find an apartment. The goal of the court later will be to allow her to live the lifestyle she was living before the divorce.
DO NOT pay off any debt in her name. Her creditors will go after her, not you, and most likely the court will not make you pay her personal debts.
DO NOT take any loans in your name to cover community debts; any unsecured loans in one persons name will almost always be that person's responsibility.
DO NOT open any new bank accounts or make it appear that you are hiding money. Judges get suspicious of men very easily and will quickly accuse you of hiding money; hiding money or putting it in a trusted friends account would help give you much needed security and stability down the road.
DO continue to live your life like everything is normal. Don't tell anyone about your thoughts of divorce except that one trustworthy friend/sibling.
When the time comes to file for divorce, do everything at the same time. File your divorce, child custody and any supporting documentation the same day. If you need the judge to sign your paper to give you custody, do so, then have your wife served after the judge signs them while you have the kids. Advise her that you have full custody and recommend she stay with a friend. Do not be afraid to call the police if you feel the need. If the police get involved, stay with everyone involved until police arrive, they do what they say. DO NOT allow your wife time to make up a story with her friends/parents/whomever. Remember, you are Gandhi!
The average divorce costs over $10,000.
Attorney's get paid before they do any work! What is their motivation to do a good job?
You CAN win your divorce.
Your spouse may be planning a divorce behind your back.