Divorce shouldn't be a decision you make quickly. You need to protect yourself financially, which means making preparations beforehand, so you are ready before actually filing for divorce. Divorce can sometimes get ugly, especially where money is concerned. Read on for tips to help you prepare for your divorce by getting your finances to protect yourself before, during, and after filing for divorce.
Open Your Own Account
At this point, you need to stop adding money to a joint account. You should have your own account in just your name. This isn't to hide money from your spouse, but to ensure you can pay the bills in the event the other party decides to take the money for their self. Pay your bills as you normally would, but keep all extra in your checking account.
Write Down All Financial Information
Write down all financial information about yourself, as well as your spouse. This means the annual income of both yourself and your spouse, any savings money that is in a joint account, 401K information, and any stocks, bonds, or other investments you have together.
Also be sure to make a note of all credit card debt - how much is owed. If any purchases are made after the divorce, you or your spouse may be responsible for those new purchases (depending on who used the credit card).
Inventory Your Assets
Make a list of all of the assets that you have including jewelry, collections, tools, equipment, and anything else that you have that may be of value. These are things that are normally divided in the divorce, and you don't want any of these items disappearing before they can actually be divided. Make a list of these items and write down their value if you know this information.
Change Beneficiary Information
Change the beneficiary information on all of your life insurance policies, as well as other financial accounts you have outstanding if you had your spouse as your beneficiary. Change it instead to a sibling or child (if you have children).
Figure Out Your Finances
This is the time to figure out your own finances. Calculate your own debt and what you can afford after your divorce. Will you be able to afford to continue living in your marital residence? If you cannot, then it's time to look for other accommodations for yourself and any children you have. Continue to stay in the marital residence while going through the divorce and save what money you can in the meantime.
Protect yourself financially before filing for divorce by following the tips above. Talk to a law office like Armstrong Betker and Schaeffer PLC about other tips to help you get through your divorce financially unscathed.