Steps To Take When Preparing for Divorce
Your marriage is over, and divorce is on the horizon. Even if you have not filed yet, you know you will. What, if anything, can you do to prepare for the divorce process before it starts? Take a look at a few things you can do before the legal process gets going.
Put Together Financials
Dividing property, assets and debts is a critical step of the divorce process. One of the first things you will have to present to the court and your spouse’s attorney is financial disclosure. Both of your financial disclosures will look similar in that you will each have to list out your income, any joint accounts, assets, debts and property. You may also have to list anything that you owned before your wedding. The assets and property you had before you wed will remain with you and are not subject to splitting.
Create a Budget
Once you gather your financials, you can get a clear picture of what your post-divorce money situation may look like. Since you will only have your income to rely on moving forward, creating a budget will help ease some of the stress financial division can have in divorce. You may be awarded child support or alimony, but these are temporary. You should prepare a budget with what you know you will have and not what you think you will get.
Open a Bank Account
Opening your own bank account is the first step to severing financial ties to your spouse. Doing this should not create a financial burden on your spouse. Have your paycheck or a portion of it direct-deposited. Do not empty joint accounts. This is an aggressive action and can have negative consequences in court.
Get a Credit Card
If all of your debt is jointly held with your spouse, you may want to consider getting something in your name. Establishing credit as a single person is another step towards financial freedom. Without credit, you may not be able to buy a car, a home or qualify for some rental properties. Do not open a credit card with the intention of running the limit up; however, do use it and get in the practice of paying it off monthly to show responsible financial habits.
You may also want to engage the services of a divorce lawyer early on. This person has the knowledge to guide you and fight for your rights under the appropriate state laws.