The divorce process requires a lot of tough decisions and financial preparation. Here, we’ve put together a guide to financially preparing for divorce.
If you haven’t learned already, going through a divorce is emotionally, physically, and financially draining—but that doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. If you take the time to plan what’s in your control, the process will go much more smoothly. Not to mention, you won’t have any surprises. If you’d like to learn more, check out our guide to financially preparing for divorce.
Get your documents together
Before you can begin planning, you’re going to need to know what you have to work with. You’ll need several documents to prepare for your divorce, including statements from your bank, investment accounts, pay stubs, and tax returns. Additionally, you’ll need statements regarding your debts, including everything from student loans to medical bills to your mortgage. All of these documents sound like a lot, but don’t worry—your attorney will help you sort through everything.
Have a record of your assets and debts
Once you’ve gathered all the documents from your marriage, now it’s time to find out what’s actually yours. Every state handles the division of assets and debts differently, but most states work off of a timeline, and that’s why you want a record of everything. For instance, many states base their division of assets and debts based on what was incurred before and during the marriage. For example, if your spouse took on a car loan in their name before you married them, your spouse will likely be fully responsible for repaying that debt. On the other hand, if you took on debt during the marriage, the state will decide how to divide the debt. The process is the same for assets such as property, collectibles, investments, and so on.
Open an individual bank account and start saving
You’re separating, and that means it’s time to get your bank account in your name. Unfortunately—even though it’s illegal—hiding money during a divorce is relatively common. Therefore, you should consult with your attorney to move funds accordingly; that way, you’ll have something to live off in the meantime. Additionally, getting a divorce is expensive whether you go with mediation or the with the traditional route of court hearings, so it’s important that you begin saving as much as you can.
Your attorney will provide the best overall direction for your case, but our guide to financially preparing for divorce will get you started on the right track. The divorce process is difficult, but remember that it’s only temporary; you’re going to come out of it stronger and as a new you.