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How can I protect myself if I find out my spouse is a criminal?

You found the love of your life and you decide to get married. Not too long after the wedding, you find out that the person you married isn't who you thought. You married a criminal and didn't have any idea. Where do you go from here?

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you protect yourself. Once you make sure of that, you can decide if and how to end the marriage.

What can I do to protect myself?

Make sure that your accounts are separated. This is a crucial step that you must take so that you aren't running the risk of losing everything based on your spouse's secret criminal actions. Having your own accounts can also make it easier to walk away and maintain yourself if you decide that you didn't sign up to live your life as part of a criminal enterprise.

How can I end the marriage?

You have two options here -- divorce or annulment. There are some differences to consider. A divorce ends the marriage but the records still indicate that you were married. An annulment does away with the marriage. Once it is finished, you were never legally married.

Make sure that you plan carefully when you find out that your spouse is a criminal. Some spouses might try to take action to keep you in the marriage or to keep you quiet. The last thing that you need is to suffer harm because you found out the truth. Once you know that you have a plan, you can start trying to work toward living a new life.

Source: FindLaw, "So You Married a Criminal? 3 Legal Tips," George Khoury, Esq., accessed April 21, 2017

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