When it comes to divorce, money is a big issue. Getting your fair share of the financial assets is important so you can live independently and provide for your children. So, how do you protect yourself? Your best option is to make a financial plan early in the negotiation process that will help you preserve your monetary contributions to the relationship. By taking the following steps, you’ll have a better chance at financial independence after your divorce is final.
Collect Your Financial Paperwork
Your first step is to gather all of your pertinent financial records. This includes five years of back pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns, as well as any information on investment accounts and property owned. Be sure to make copies of everything and store them in a safe place, whether it’s at your parents’ house or safe deposit box to protect you in case an important piece goes missing.
Take Inventory of Your Personal Assets
Make a list of everything that’s yours alone. Money and property acquired during the relationship are normally considered marital assets, but inheritances, gifts, and anything you owned before the marriage can be considered separate property. Record your valuables with date-stamped, digital photos because high-value objects can sometimes go missing during the divorce process.
Make a Budget and Cut Expenses
A divorce means downgrading from two paychecks to a single income. Add the cost of your divorce proceedings to your list of bills and you’ll see you need to make some cutbacks. As soon as you realize divorce is a possibility, make a budget based on your income and decide what expenses aren’t necessities.
Check Your Credit Report
On top of a budget, you’ll need to pay attention to your credit score and outstanding debt. You can do this by asking for copies of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus. Look for anything suspicious, but if something doesn’t add up, contact your family law attorney before you ask your spouse for a full records disclosure.
Open New Accounts
As soon as you realize that you’re parting from your spouse, it’s important to open your own checking and savings accounts at a bank other than the one you used for your joint account. This will safeguard your confidentiality. You should also consider getting a credit card that’s in your name only and use it to strengthen and build your credit score.
Getting a divorce can be as expensive as it is painful. By getting your finances in order before your court proceedings, you can help protect your assets and build a better life for yourself and your children. The lawyers at the FAB Law Firm are here to help you cut costs by giving you an in-person case evaluation for just $150. Let us work to get you your fair share.