When considering a divorce, many concerns will undoubtedly be flooding through your mind. How will this impact the kids? Can we work through our issues? What will our family think? The list is endless. While they are all important, one concern that you need to be aware of (and that you can actually take positive action on) is how to financially prepare for the divorce. The following six steps will help put you into as strong a position as possible so you can get through the divorce, and emerge from it ready to be successful in your new life.
Take a Full Financial Inventory
The first thing you should do is get a full picture of your current financial position. Make a list of all debts and assets that you currently have. If you are still able to work civilly with your spouse, it is best to work together on this. If not, you should still do it alone. This step is critical because it will help you prepare for financial success, but also because these debts and assets will be needed during the divorce anyway. (It also helps you identify if your spouse is running up debts without your consent during the divorce!)
Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
This should be part of your financial inventory, but it is worth mentioning on its own. Requesting a copy of your credit report now will help give you a baseline for where you are financially. It will also show you which areas you need to focus on to improve your score in the future. Getting your credit report is easier than ever thanks to several online services, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
Save Money for an Attorney
If you’re even considering a divorce, you should be setting aside money for the attorney. Depending on the details of the case, a divorce can get costly, and both you and your spouse will need one. Whether your spouse wants to or not, it is a good idea to have money put away for this essential expense.
Open Separate Bank Accounts
Once you get to the point where a divorce is very likely, it is time to start working on separating your finances. Start by opening separate bank accounts which the other person does not have access to. Some people put this off because they think it means there is no chance at saving the marriage, but that is not the case at all. It is simply a smart step to protect both parties from potential problems down the road. It will also help ease the financial transition from living as a couple to living as individuals again.
Attempt to Eliminate Expenses
Unless you are quite wealthy, your lifestyle is going to have to be cut back after the divorce. Rather than having two incomes and one set of expenses to manage with it, you will now just have one income and your own expenses. Take the time to look at your budget and see where you can cut back to prepare. Reducing or eliminating television packages, reducing expensive food budgets, and other cuts like this will not only help you prepare, but will also free up the cash needed for the divorce itself.
Get an Estimate from an Attorney
It is never too early to contact an attorney when thinking about a divorce. Talking with an attorney can help you understand your options and get things in order. An attorney can also look at the details of your situation, give you an estimate of how much money you would need up front, and how much you may need all together if you go through with the divorce. Contact Hensley Legal Services to discuss your divorce and have your questions answered today.