If you’re going through a divorce, you probably feel as if your whole world has been turned upside down. The life and relationship you built for yourself is ending, but you now have an opportunity – a second chance – to rebuild your life and start over.
Besides figuring out parental responsibilities and time-sharing schedules, one of the biggest concerns during a divorce is money. Depending on your particular circumstances, you probably have a bunch of financial questions that need answering. How will you and your husband split your assets? Do you need to get a better job or go back to work? What happens if you never worked outside the home? Will you be able to support yourself? If you have children, will you be able to support them?
The list goes on and on. In the wake of a divorce, these issues can feel overwhelming, but you can’t let those feelings take over and paralyze you. That’s why it’s important and necessary to take control of your finances and be prepared for anything that may come your way during the divorce proceedings. Not only will it make going through your divorce easier, it will also be beneficial to your life after your divorce is final.
Here are 5 financial tips to help you get through your divorce.
- Gather all of your financial records. You will most likely need these documents for your divorce, but it will also give you a clear picture of where you stand financially. Bank, brokerage, mortgage, and credit card statements, along with tax returns, insurance policies, 401(k)s, and anything else you think is important and relevant for your finances. After you have these documents, make copies of them and give those copies to a trusted family member or friend, or keep them in a bank safety deposit box.
- Separate joint accounts. A joint bank account gives your husband the opportunity to wipe out all of the money in the account. A separate bank account will protect you and make sure your money is safe. On top of that, you will need your own bank account going forward. Go to a completely different bank from where your joint account is and open a savings and checking account solely in your name.
- Evaluate your credit. Since you will no longer be married, you will have to rely on your own credit for future financial decisions. Get a copy of your credit report and thoroughly go over everything, correcting any false information or discrepancies. Pay attention to any joint credit card statements as well. Document all of your expenses and make note of your husband’s charges. If he’s buying lavish gifts for his girlfriend, you’ll want to have a record of that.
- Make a budget. A budget will allow you to assess how much money you need to support your life. That way, when you start settlement negotiations, you will know if an offer will provide enough support. A budget will also give you a clear picture of what you will be able to afford moving forward. Even if you want to keep your big house, you might not be able to afford it when you factor in all of your other living expenses. Consulting with a financial advisor might be very helpful here and there are even financial experts that specialize in divorces.
- Find an experienced family law attorney. An experienced family law attorney will be able to guide you through the divorce process and offer priceless advice to help you with all of the legal matters relating to your divorce. Most divorce lawyers should have a free initial consultation where you can discuss your situation and get answers to all of your questions. Since you will be sharing personal information, make sure you feel comfortable and can trust your lawyer to look out for your best interests.
Divorce can be difficult, but these steps can help you move in the right direction to take control of your life. If you’re contemplating a divorce or are currently going through one, reach out to me today to see how I can help you.