You might have prepared yourself emotionally for your impending divorce but have you prepared financially? Many people get wrapped up emotionally with the details of who will get the house, which spouse will the kids live with, who gets to keep the dog and so many more. Both of you have an emotional investment in all of your possessions from the house to the DVD collection. While the equitable division of these things is important these decisions must not take priority over your finances. If at all possible you should start preparing financially as soon as possible in preparation for your divorce. In the following we will cover 5 steps that will help you financially prepare for divorce and preserve your financial health and survive without any financial scars.
1. Get together every financial document you can find and make copies. Itâ€™s strange how so many documents will come up missing when the discussion turns to divorce. In many relationships one spouse typically assumes the duties of the household finances. Many times the other spouse is unaware of the cost to maintain the household, what their monthly debt service is or even their monthly income. While during the marriage this may seem like a convenient arrangement in the event of a divorce it can be detrimental to the uninvolved spouse.
2. Get your own accounts. Once it is apparent that divorce is inevitable, you need to start accumulating accounts in your name only. This includes savings, checking and retirement accounts. If you are working, start having your pay routed through these accounts. You will need to start gathering some cash. Thereâ€™s a good chance you will need to have access to money when beginning the divorce process. Many divorce attorneys will require a deposit or retainer to start working for you. It would be horrible to be unable to hire a professional because you failed to properly prepare financially for divorce. Itâ€™s a good idea to start establishing credit in your name also. Itâ€™s not unusual for one spouse to run up the credit cards as â€œpaybackâ€ when they find out divorce is around the corner. While it is still likely that any assets accumulated during the marriage will be considered marital property and subject to equitable division, you can be assured you will at least have access to funds until the divides the assets.
3. Reduce spending. In order to keep your debt situation as simple as possible, do not – take on any new debt, make large purchases, buy extravagant items, etc. The more outstanding debt you have prior to the divorce just adds to the cost and difficulty of the proceedings.
4. Hire an experienced divorce lawyer. The divorce process can be confusing and difficult to handle at times, this is where an experienced divorce attorney will earn their pay. Even the divorce that starts out seemingly calm and without a lot of excitement can turn into a trial case in what seems like an instant. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can make sure mistakes are avoided that could cost you down the road. You will be glad that you were able to financially prepare for divorce.
5. Put together a list of all of your debts, assets and monthly income before your first visit. Tim Evans, a Mississippi attorney specializing in divorce list 4 things to bring to your first meeting:
- Your Tax Return: The more assets there are the more complicated the divorce will be.
- A Financial Declaration: If you want to impress your attorney, bring this with you.
- Timeline of the Problems Leading to the Divorce: This will help your attorney evaluate your case.
- The Truth: It is important to be totally truthful with your attorney anything else will do nothing but hurt your case.