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
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.