If you are considering filing for divorce, or have already filed, it is important to protect yourself financially. Whether you were previously involved in managing your family’s finances or not, it is essential that you have an understanding of your financial situation prior to divorce. Here are 5 basic tips to help you financially prepare for divorce:
- Get up-to-date on family finances: In some households, one spouse may take the responsibility of bills and other finances. This may work when you are married, but if you are planning to file for divorce you need to be aware of your household’s financial status. Take some time to get acquainted with all expenses, debts obtained, income, investments and previous tax statements.
- Make copies of everything: Making copies of financial documents is necessary for protecting yourself in court. Take the time to get organized and make copies of any 401K statements, life insurance policies, house appraisals, tax returns, etc.
- Maintain your credit score: It is important for you to pull your credit score and clean it up as much as possible while you are still married. If not, you might run into some problems when you try to purchase or rent a house after divorce.
If you do not currently have a line of credit, it is important to establish one for yourself. You can do this by opening up a credit card in your name only; keep spending to a minimum, so you can pay it off right away. Finances is #2 on our top 10 reasons marriages end in divorce.
- Get your own accounts: If you are planning on filing for divorce, it might be beneficial for you to open new bank accounts in your name only. If you continue to transfer money from your joint accounts to your personal account keep a record of every transaction for court.
- Create a budget for yourself: If you are planning on filing for divorce, you are preparing yourself for a lifestyle change. This is also true for your finances. After a divorce, you will be living off your salary alone. It is important for you to understand what your cost of living will be.