Divorce can be an overwhelming experience. Fighting with your ex over who gets the house or car can be ugly. However, beyond property division, many other factors contribute to a couple’s financial landscape. Often, only one member of a couple controls the finances – which leaves the other member in a disadvantageous position in the event of divorce.
If you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re on solid financial footing once the divorce proceedings begin:
Understand your finances.
If your spouse was in charge of your finances during your marriage, you may not have a clear understanding of where you stand. For instance, you may not know your spouse’s salary or the details of your shared investments. If the divorce is adversarial, your spouse may not share this financial information with you unless ordered to do so by the court. Therefore, if you’ve decided you want a divorce, it’s a good idea to gather documents that give you a clear understanding of your financial situation before filing.
Protect your credit.
If you and your spouse have any shared bank accounts or credit cards, your credit score can be damaged if your spouse makes late payments or accrues debt. Dissolve any shared accounts and open new accounts under just your name. You can refer to your credit report to make sure you don’t accidentally miss any accounts that you don’t use regularly.
Plan for independence.
If you’ll be moving into a new home following your divorce, your expenses will likely change. Sit down and map out a budget of what you expect all of your new living expenses to be. It’s also a good idea to estimate what your divorce-related expenses will be, as well as figure out how the divorce will affect your taxes. Set aside money for these additional costs.
Divorce can seem like an insurmountable undertaking. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can help you lay out a plan and provide you assurance that all issues impacting your best interests are accounted for.