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Nine Ways to Prepare Financially for Your Divorce

Nine Ways to Prepare Financially for Your Divorce

Posted By Meyers Law Group, P.C. || 29-Jan-2014

When faced with the prospect of a divorce, not only do people face a process that is grueling emotionally, but they are looking at a complex process filled with daunting paperwork. It takes a lot of work to extricate yourself from the life you once shared with someone else. Many people are at a loss as to where to even start, especially if the divorce was unexpected news. If you take several steps, however, you could pave your way to the finish line, to a new and independent life.

1. First of all, you can save yourself time and stress down the road by collecting your financial records right now. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand what information is specifically needed in your case, but as a general rule, you will need to pin down incomes, monthly expenses, tax returns, mortgage statements, etc. Part of the divorce is to provide full financial disclosure to your spouse, but just in case your spouse does not play fair, you need to be aware of their financial situation too. You should give copies of these records to a reliable friend or relative for safekeeping, perhaps placing these records in a safe deposit box as well.

2. Get a post office box, so that you know that your correspondence with your attorney will safely arrive to you, for one thing. This also gives you sole access to information such as statements for your new separate bank account and credit card. And as you do not have to wait for a postal worker to bring the mail to your place, you could also be getting time sensitive information when you need it.

3. Start saving. The cost of a divorce can be extensive, but if you can invest in the financial and legal professionals you need, you may be able to safeguard your financial future from the damage of a divorce. So start saving up for the divorce lawyer you will need as well as for your weekly expenses throughout the process.

4. You will also need your own checking and savings account. You can take out the maximum amount from your joint account that you are allowed to under state law (ask your lawyer for the details), putting the bulk of the funds into a savings account. You do not want to place money into a time account just to accrue interest; this is a time when you need to be able to withdraw funds at any given moment.

5. Set up a personal credit card account, and do this as soon as possible, particularly if you are not employed or if your spouse has a higher income. You can use your combined income to set up the account. Not only does this allow you to create your own credit and to separate yourself from a spouse's future debt, but this account could tide you over, even if your accounts get frozen.

6. When you start a new chapter in your life financially, you also need to be aware of your financial history. As soon as you know you are headed toward a divorce, you should get your hands on a copy of your credit report. If there are any problems or mistakes in it, you can take care of these before they make your divorce any messier. You can also examine what your spouse is spending money on; if your joint credit card is being used to fund an affair or is otherwise wasting your marital assets, you might want to freeze the account.

7. Then you will have to update your will and health care directives, your estate plan. There are many reasons for this, and they include preventing your ex from making the call when it comes to your medical treatment if you become incapacitated. It also means making sure that your children's inheritance stays whole, particularly if you have children from a previous relationship.

8. This also means you will have to take care of your other accounts, updating your life insurance policy and your retirement accounts. Now if you are trying to prepare for the divorce before you make your announcement to your spouse, you want to first find out if the insurance company or 401k plan will contact your spouse about your changes. If you want to wait a little more before talking your spouse about the divorce, then you might need to wait to take this step.

9. As if all this were not time-consuming enough, you should write down an inventory of all your separate property, the items and assets that you should be taking with you in the split. You may need to back these up with photographs that have a time stamp on them, in case of the unfortunate event that you find some these assets have been hidden later on. Separate property includes items given as a gift to you alone (except if it was from your spouse), an inheritance for you alone, property that was yours before you were married, and more.

It will be worth it to take care of all these issues before the chaos of a divorce sets in, and knowing the specifics of where you stand financially can help you approach your divorce with more confidence. To understand more on how to prepare for a divorce, be sure to contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. today. An experienced Long Island divorce lawyer from our firm can help you navigate your way through this legal process, helping you understand and protect your rights so that you can come out with a brighter future.