No one says their vows anticipating a future divorce, yet nearly 4 out of every 10 marriages now end in a divorce or annulment. Tragically, divorce is becoming very common, and even necessary in some circumstances.
As soon as you realize you and your spouse might be separating, it’s absolutely vital you start preparing your finances. Even if you believe the divorce will be relatively amicable, a single argument or misunderstanding can change that in the blink of an eye.
Divorce can be messy, and even when you split up on good terms, finances can quickly turn ugly.
Use these tips to help prepare and solidify your finances before you make the final move into your divorce.
Collect Your Financial Records
The first step in this process is to begin collecting all of your financial records for the last few years. This data will be invaluable when you start separating your assets and debt.
In the event the divorce turns into a messy legal battle, you can use this information to create a solid case regarding any discrepancies.
Make sure you keep receipts for big purchases you made together. If your accounts are already separate, be sure you have kept good records.
Set Aside An Emergency Fund
No one wants to find themselves in the middle of a divorce with an empty bank account and canceled credit cards. It’s important to have an emergency fund that is either in cash or an account only you have access to.
This should be enough money to cover a place to stay for a few weeks, daily expenses and the initial attorney fees. See if you can get loans or borrow from family for the things you need now but can pay back later when the divorce is over.
Contact a Lawyer
Contacting a divorce attorney doesn’t mean you are getting ready for a ruthless legal battle. In many cases, these professionals can actually help you diffuse the situation and find common ground with your ex-spouse.
They can also steer you through this complicated process so you don’t leave any loose ends. Places like Blumenauer Hackworth even specialize in family law so you can get a lawyer who has the children’s best interests at heart.
Close Joint Accounts
Closing joint accounts should be done as delicately as possible. Even if you are the primary breadwinner, cutting your spouse off from all of the assets can be seen as an aggressive action by the judge.
You should first speak with your lawyer about how and when you should switch the accounts over to your own name or close them entirely.
Avoid Big Purchases
The last thing you want to do is arouse the suspicions of the judge, your ex-spouse or their legal representative.
Any major purchases you make immediately before the divorce or while filing for a divorce could be taken out of your future assets.
A divorce will almost always be stressful and emotional. Taking care of your finances as quickly as possible will give you one less thing to worry about as you go through this complex legal situation.
Unfortunately, some of the most innocent victims of divorce are children. While it’s impossible a divorce will leave a child completely unscathed, there are ways to help ease the pain of divorce and keep kids out of the drama when parents make the choice to go their separate ways. Click here to learn what they are.