Planning to file for divorce? Do these things now
After months or even years of toiling over whether or not you should divorce a spouse, you’re likely to feel a certain amount of relief when you finally make the decision to file for divorce. While finally breaking free from an unhappy, unfulfilling or abusive marriage is certainly a reason to celebrate; once a soon-to-be ex-spouse learns of a divorce filing things will never be the same and can escalate quickly.
It’s important, therefore, to take steps to get your affairs in order prior to filing for divorce. Doing so helps ensure that you are still able to access important financial and other documents and accounts that may prove to be important during a divorce and also provides you the time and space to prepare for many of the knowns and unknowns that lay ahead.
While people who are planning or going through a divorce often focus on the money they’ll need after a divorce, many fail to consider or plan for their financial needs during a divorce. Consequently, if an angry ex-spouse takes action to freeze assets during a divorce, you may not have access to any cash until a divorce is finalized. To prevent being cash-poor during a divorce, it’s wise to establish a separate account in the months or even years prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, if you have concerns that a spouse will attempt to take or destroy certain personal belongings or documents from a shared home, it’s wise to store such items in a safe place.
In addition to making sure you can afford to live comfortably while going through a divorce, it’s also important to understand your financial situation prior to filing for a divorce. How much do you and your spouse make? Do you own property? What about debts and investments? Making sure you have clear answers to these types of questions will be a tremendous benefit and help you determine your financial needs and goals as you start divorce proceedings.
While there’s no way to avoid some of the headaches and hassles that tend to accompany the divorce process, being proactive and taking steps to prepare prior to filing can end up paying off big both during divorce proceedings and come settlement time.
Source: The Huffington Post, “6 Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce,” Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 2, 2016