This is a general guide that will help you re-focus on what is needed to protect yourself and your assets.
There is no preference for wife or husband, just that your breaking away from your spouse and need to start again.
Before you even read the top 5 tips for 2011, please take into consideration seeing a marriage counselor as well as taking in the advice of family and friends who know you best.
Marriages get very emotional and stressful for both people; often due to financial losses, family disasters, and so many other reasons.
It's tough to step back and try to see the whole picture for what it is.
Tip #1 - Legal Protection: Speak to a divorce lawyer AND a child custody lawyer immediately.
This is to get your facts straight and see what guidance they have on your next steps.
It's best to get consultation before taking any actions, this is NOT a guarantee you are starting the divorce, but it will make sure you are informed on what is ahead if you do.
Tip #2 - Record Keeping: Build a written history of the following; financial transactions, any emotional distress/abuse, child care facts, average lifestyle throughout the marriage, and also time line all of it together.
Tip #3 - Credit: You need to be financially safe in the future, so check on all credit cards and loans that have joint ownership.
Once you know how/where you are involved financially, speak to a financial adviser on the best course of action to separate liability and rebuild your own line of credit.
There is no doubt that there will be some discrepancies but if you catch this early you have a better chance of not drowning in your spouse's debts.
Tip #4 - Bank Accounts: Start saving anything you can into a separate account as soon as you see the divorce on the horizon.
Be discrete as this can obviously stir the pot and cause more immediate problems.
Make sure to speak with your bank manager to understand the legal requirements and needs that come with the joint accounts you hold with your spouse.
Tip #5 - Get your assets appraised: Make sure to get a real estate appraiser to evaluate your homes current worth; including remodeling, additions, etc.
This will greatly help you and your partner understand whether the mortgage is too expensive, if it's better to sell, or any avenue that is best for the future of your family and finances.
There are also numerous other appraisers that can come in and give you professional valuations of other assets such as cars, pianos, entertainment systems and more.
This is a difficult road for everyone, but you want to make sure that you can continue living your life and that years of hard work and time will not be lost due to the lack of preparation before court.
Protect yourself and be fair to your spouse and children, they are a major part of your life no matter how bad things have gotten.
Good luck and protect your investments.