Planning for a Divorce? Some tips to get started.
Take a look at our recommendations for 6 Financial Steps to Preparing for Divorce.
- Look for current and past important financial documents and statements. Every financial document that hits your mailbox (especially in January, where it captures crucial year end information) is worth your time. You should gather Bank and Brokerage account statements showing year end balances and the year-end spending summary sent out by most Credit Card companies. You may also start to see tax documents being sent during the early part of the time prior to tax time. If you aren’t sure whether the document is pertinent to your divorce planning, keep a copy anyway just in case. Financial knowledge will equal power for you. The more you can get now the more prepared you will be to advocate for yourself and obtain the most financially advantageous settlement possible.
- Make copies of all financial files in your home. This includes 5 years of tax returns, Brokerage and Bank account statements, business ownership documents such as partnership agreements and wills and trusts. Again, if you have any reason to believe the financial document will be important to your divorce planning; you should keep a copy. It is always better to be over-prepared.
- Educate yourself about your divorce options. We believe most couples can resolve their differences outside of court. If you are unsure, or confused as to which option is best for you, make an appointment with Collaborative Divorce Strategies and we will educate you on your divorce options. Staying away from the court system will save emotional and economic resources and should result in a more advantageous financial settlement.
- Consult with a lawyer or two or three or four. Collaborative Divorce Strategies can refer you to many high-quality divorce lawyers in your community. Concentrate your search on attorneys who specialize in Family Law. You wouldn’t go to your primary care physician for a tonsillectomy so don’t go to your real estate attorney for your divorce.
- Develop a budget for your divorce. Divorce is hard on the checkbook. You will have expenses of two households, expenses to set up that second household such as furniture and furnishings. If you already have a family budget you can use this as a guide to start your individual divorce budget. If you don’t have one, begin by looking at the bank and credit card statements you gathered in steps 1 and 2. First, get a feel for the recurring expenses like mortgage and utilities then make estimates of discretionary expenses like dining out and entertainment after averaging a couple of months’ worth of real data gathered from the statements. Finding a way to maintain some level of a similar lifestyle during the divorce proceedings is not easy for most but this is a time for you to be comfortable, not feeling destitute. Collaborative Divorce Strategies is experienced in creating budgets and available to assist clients in developing a budget for their Divorce.
- Open a credit card and bank account in your individual name. If you do not yet have a credit card in your name alone we suggest you apply for one immediately. It is common for one party to lose access to cash after filing for divorce. If you do not have cash you cannot pay the professional help you need to protect yourself in the divorce process. Nerdwallet is a great resource for comparing current credit card offers.
Contact Collaborative Divorce Strategies to get a complimentary consultation on your personal situation: firstname.lastname@example.org