Going through a divorce can be messy, both financially and emotionally,
so doing everything you can to prepare for the process can help save you
and your family unnecessary stress and hassle. Follow these steps to take
stock of your finances, know which steps you need to take to move forward
and make the divorce as quick and painless as possible.
1. Gather Financial Records
Take stock of your finances and organize all of your records pertaining
to any shared or personal accounts. Be sure to collect bank statements,
investments, property documents, tax returns, payroll stubs, benefits
information, or any other important documents. Keeping your own records
of everything will help speed along the divorce process and can protect
you in case any record is disputed. Make copies and have one in a safe
or at a trusted family member or friend’s house for safe keeping.
2. Save for Professional Fees
Cut expenses, budget, and prepare to pay for your divorce. In the best
possible outcome, you will end up with a fair divorce when all is said
and done, but there are plenty of fees you will need to prepare for before
the divorce is finalized. This includes legal fees, the cost of financial
advisors, additional fees regarding childcare while you and your ex-spouse
are in court, and any counseling or therapy fees for yourself or your children.
3. Open New Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
If you and your spouse shared joint accounts, it’s a good idea to
open bank accounts and credit cards that are only accessible by you. This
will help you protect your money, keep track of any earnings or expenses
following your decision to divorce, and can help prepare you for your
new life after divorce. Make sure any direct deposits are transferred
to your new account.
4. Monitor Your Credit Report
Print out your credit report for your records, and monitor it throughout
your divorce. If you have any outstanding issues, handle them as soon
as you are able, and pay close attention to any possible changes. If anything
comes up on your credit score that seems suspicious or concerning, contact
5. Change Your Will and Medical Directives
Chances are your spouse was in your will and was given authority financially
and medically if anything were to happen to you. Contact your attorney
and go over your estate plan, will, medical directives, and any other
relevant documents to remove your ex-spouse. Be sure to name a trusted
family member or friend with medical and financial power of attorney,
should anything happen to you.
6. Take Inventory of All Assets
Whether they were shared or individually owned, take stock of everything
you own. Evaluate what you owned jointly or invested in once you were
married, and what you owned on your own. Your individual assets are typically
things you owned prior to marriage, inherited, or anything that was given
solely to you. Take photos of your possessions (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.)
and keep any relevant documentation or receipts.
7. Professional Help
Seek professional help for your divorce. No matter how self-sufficient
you are, divorce is complicated, and having professional advice will not
only make the process easier and faster, it will likely save you money
in the end. Also consider seeking professional help to maintain a healthy
mental and emotional state. Family and friends are invaluable and it is
a good idea to go to them for support, but an unbiased opinion can be
invaluable, so consider seeing a therapist.
8. Stay Healthy
Do not underestimate the importance of your healthy. Divorce isn’t
a sprint, it’s a marathon, one in which you need to be healthy and
resilient in order to finish strong. Make sure to exercise regularly and
eat healthy foods, studies show a healthy lifestyle can improve your ability
to improve your mood and stabilize your emotions. Prioritize time with
your family and friends, and allow yourself time to let go and relax whenever you can.
Contact Hollingsworth & Zivitz Attorneys at Law to discuss your divorce today.