It has often been said that preparation is the key to success, and getting divorced is no exception. Most areas of your life will change after a divorce, including your living situation and parenting situation. Even though your divorce is an emotional process, it is just as much a legal and financial process.
Dealing with marital finances during a divorce can be tricky, especially since financial issues are often the root of disagreements during divorce negotiations. Proper preparation is crucial when it comes to the financial side of your divorce. Here are a few ways you can prepare your finances before you begin negotiations:
Tip #1: Collect Your Records
The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your financial information from the past couple of years. This can help you get a good idea of your financial picture and will ensure that you have everything ready as you begin the negotiation process. You should try to gather records such as:
- Tax returns
- Bank account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Mortgage, auto, and/or personal loan information
- Credit card statements
- Pay stubs
Tip #2: Create an Inventory of Your Assets
Next, a smart idea would be to use what you know from those financial records and create a list of your assets and property that compiles everything from all sources. Be sure to make note of which assets are separate property and which assets are marital property. You should also make a list of any debts that you or your spouse have, whether they are separate or marital debts.
Tip #3: Keep Track of Your Current Expenses and Plan for New Ones
Divorce can be expensive; that is no secret. As soon as you realize you will be getting a divorce, you should begin tracking your current expenses so you can see where your money is going and ensure that you have the financial means to meet your ongoing needs. You should also begin planning for life during and after your divorce. Often, you will need to rely on only one income, so you may need to determine how to cut costs and save money in order to remain financially secure.
Tip #4: Open Accounts in Your Name Only
If you and your spouse have joint bank and credit card accounts, it is crucial that you close those accounts as soon as possible and open new ones. This can help you know exactly what money is yours and what money is your spouse’s, and it can also prevent either spouse from wasting marital finances or racking up expensive credit card bills.
Tip #5: Hire a Skilled Kane County Divorce Lawyer
Some of the most complex issues in your divorce are likely to be those involving your finances. The way you handle your money during the divorce process can have many implications on your current and future finances, which is why it is a good idea to work with a St. Charles divorce attorney who has experience helping clients make sound financial decisions. At Goostree Law Group, we understand the importance of proper preparation before you begin the divorce process. Call our office today at 630-584-4800 to schedule a free consultation.