You’re filing for divorce. In some instances congratulations are in order, in others, not so much. No matter what the circumstances, there are some very important things you must do following your decision to end a marriage.
First and foremost…
This is a daunting life event but you will get through it. Ideally, with the help and advice from a great divorce and family law attorney. A good support system of friends and family also helps.
Organize Financial Records
Start gathering and reviewing all of your financial documents like pay stubs, tax returns, real estate papers, and bank statements. This will allow you to get a handle on the state of your money affairs.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of knowing about your finances, especially if your spouse was handling the bills. It is a good idea to make copies of these documents.
Separate Your Money
Set up your own individual bank account (if you don’t already have one). You can withdraw money from joint accounts if it does not exceed 50% of the balance or leave your spouse with insufficient means to support him or herself. Be sure to talk with your attorney before doing this.
Build a Nest Egg
There are no if, and, or buts about it… divorce is expensive. Start conserving your funds and economize your lifestyle NOW. This will help you better prepare for some unforeseen expenses and lawyer fees.
Purchasing large-ticket items like cars or homes can come back to bite you when it comes time to settle on child support or alimony. Bottom line, don’t live lavishly and always use cash over credit cards.
Contemplate Tax Season
Be sure to look ahead to the next tax season and discuss with your CPA/Accountant on how to file. It could be advantageous to file jointly so it’s best to get advice from an expert. Then take that information and propose the idea to your spouse (or have your attorney do so).
The emotional effects of divorce sometimes far outweigh the financial so don’t underestimate the value of talking to a professional. Counselors and therapists can help guide you through the process (at Nevada Family Law Group we even refer clients to ones we trust). Look into whether your health insurance covers any of the cost.
Even if divorce is the final decision, joint counseling with your spouse can help create an amicable post-divorce relationship, especially when children are involved.
Be the Bigger Person
No matter how much you want to bad mouth your spouse, do not do so to your children or in their presence. This only serves to make the new reality more difficult, even for grown children. If you can, tell children about the situation together.
Update Your Passwords
Do not maliciously change usernames or passwords on joint accounts without your spouse’s knowledge. Do however make it a point to update any email passwords and any other individual accounts you may have.
Change Your Will
In the unlikely event that you die before a judgement of divorce is granted and you do not have a will, your spouse will inherit at least half (if not all) of your property. This varies from state to state though so check with your attorney. In any case it’s a wise decision to draft or change an existing will.
Write Down Everything
It’s a good idea to keep a divorce journal. Jot down anything of importance. Having evidence to support your case is crucial and while you may think your divorce will end on friendly terms you never know so it doesn’t hurt to be over prepared.
Contemplating divorce or already in the midst of the process? Contact Nevada Family Law Group and we can help you navigate through this trying time.