If divorce is on the horizon, don't wait to consider how it may impact your finances. Proper preparation for the divorce process will help you avoid financial mishaps that could affect you for many years to come.
Here are five key steps you can take to prepare your finances for divorce:
- Gather financial records: If you think you'll need it, it's best to keep it nearby. This can include but is not limited to: bank statements, retirement statements, life insurance policies and a list of assets and debts.
- Review your budget: Your income and expenses are sure to change after your divorce, so review your budget to determine if it will work for you in the future. You may find that you need to cut expenses to make ends meet.
- Open individual accounts: Once you decide to divorce, it's time to stop using joint accounts. To start, open your own bank accounts and apply for your own credit card. Make sure all joint accounts are closed.
- Review your credit report: If everything is in order, do your best to keep it this way in the weeks and months to come. If you find something alarming, such as an error or a past due account, take immediate action.
- Get professional assistance: This isn't the time to do everything yourself. There are many places you can turn for professional assistance, including your accountant, a financial planner and a family law attorney. These professionals are able to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
Even if you take all these steps to prepare your finances for divorce, it's still possible you could run into issues along the way. It's imperative to remain calm and focus on moving through the process one step at a time.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is complicating matters, such as by attempting to hide assets from the court, do your part to protect your rights. Don't turn a blind eye because you're hoping to put your divorce in the past as quickly as possible.
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