Regardless of how well prepared you are, divorce will change your financial circumstances in some way, shape or form. Fortunately, when you know what to expect, you can position yourself for success post-divorce.
Here are some questions you can answer to better understand your situation, the changes you’ll face and the things you can do to protect yourself.
- Have you collected all the financial documents associated with your divorce? This can include but is not limited to pay stubs, bank account and retirement account statements and tax returns.
- Do you have a property and debt division checklist? This type of checklist outlines all of your assets and debts, along with a designation for “joint” or “individual” property. Also, when possible, assign a value to each asset.
- What will happen to your family home? It varies from case to case, but there are many ways this can shake out. For example, you may be willing to give up other assets so you can remain in your family home. If neither of you wants the home, you can sell it and split the proceeds.
- How will you earn money in the future? If you’re currently employed, this isn’t a difficult question to answer. But if you were a homemaker while your ex-spouse earned income for the family, your situation is much more complex. In addition to finding a job, learn more about your rights to receive spousal support.
- Do you have a post-divorce budget? You may not be able to finalize it until your divorce is in the books, but you should start on this as soon as you can. It will outline your income and expenses post-divorce, thus allowing you to plan accordingly.
The act of filing for divorce should be more than enough for you to review your finances, answer these questions and prepare for everything that could come your way, both good and bad.
Even though you’ll face obstacles along the way, knowledge of the divorce process and what you’re trying to accomplish will work in your favor. Know what you want, protect your legal rights and make sound decisions based on what’s best for you.