If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you will need to consider what life will look like once you are no longer married. Many people will have to support themselves financially after the divorce, as they can no longer depend on their spouse to help support them.
While every situation is different, you should start getting your finances in order as soon as you have decided to get divorced. Here are some tips for getting your finances in order prior to filing for divorce.
You will need to provide the courts with financial statements documenting your current financial status, so it is best to start collecting them now. These documents generally include:
- Account statements (e.g., checking, savings, and investment records).
- Debt statements (e.g., loan ledgers and credit card bills).
- Retirement account statements “(e.g., 401k and IRA records)
- Household bills (e.g., cable and electricity).
- Pay stubs.
- Tax returns.
- Property records (e.g., title to your home and car).
- Credit report.
Open individual accounts and credit cards
Many married couples put their money solely in joint accounts and use joint credit cards. If you are planning for a divorce, it may be in your best interest to open an individual checking and savings account at a new financial institution. Then, make sure your paychecks are directly deposited into your new individual account. You should also open a new credit card in your name alone to build your own credit.
As for your joint accounts and cards, you may be able to work with your spouse to close all joint accounts and cards to protect yourselves from each other’s new debts. If you and your spouse are unable to agree, talk to your attorney about your options.
Create a budget
If you and your spouse were both financially contributing to the household when you were married, you may have gotten used to having two incomes. Now that you are solely responsible for your expenses, you will have to build a new budget. Make sure to account for insurance premiums and other expenses that may increase after divorce. You should also track your current expenses and calculate how much the divorce will cost.
Do not feel like you must handle these financial matters on your own. A Virginia attorney specializing in family law can help you financially prepare for your pending divorce, as well as help you through the divorce process itself.