The writing is on the wall. After years of trying to resolve your differences, you have come to the realization that you and your spouse will never see eye-to-eye and need to go your separate ways. Many people immediately notify their spouse of their decision to divorce and begin the filing process.
However, taking immediate action may not be the best way to protect yourself and your finances long-term. Many experts advise taking the following steps before moving forward with the divorce.
Collect asset and debt information
Couples accumulate many assets, as well as debt, over the course of their marriage. The marital home, joint bank accounts, artwork, personal belongings, mortgage payments, credit card debt, and other marital assets and debts may be equitably distributed between you.
That is why it is so important to have collect all documentation relating to all of your assets when you are divorcing. The documentation should address the value of each asset, both past and present, the date and location of purchase, and what funds were used to purchase it. You should also collect documentation relating to all debts, including your credit report.
Create a financial plan for your post-divorce life
Now that you will be solely dependent on your own income, it is important to create a budget for your post-divorce life and figure out what you can now afford.
Protect your finances
Emotions run high during a divorce, so it is possible that your spouse may act out by running up charges on the joint credit card or cleaning out your joint account. Closing joint credit accounts, opening new bank accounts in your name alone, freezing investment accounts may be the best way to protect yourself financially. However, it may in your best interest to talk to a divorce attorney before taking action.
Stay in your home if at all possible
Moving out of your home may negatively affect your interest in the marital home, so you should try to stay in the home if at all possible. If you have to leave, try to keep contributing to the mortgage and keep track of your payments. If there is domestic violence, talk to an attorney about filing a motion to get you temporary possession of the home.
Divorce is an emotional time, but it is important to act maturely. Anything you say or do may end up affecting the outcome your divorce and the custody of your children. It may be in your best interest to avoid posting on social media, lashing out at your ex, or acting irresponsibly in any way.