Divorce is tough, and there can be a lot of confusion when the process begins. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as you emotionally prepare to go through this difficult time, but what can you do to prepare yourself financially?
Gather Important Financial Documents
Gathering your financial records can be a very time-consuming process, but you’ll need them to tell the story of your marriage’s financial history. Because it can take so long to get a hold of these records, it’s best to start gathering them as soon as possible.
Some documents you’ll need include:
- Bank Statements
- Tax returns
- Credit card statements
- Loan information
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account information
- Social security statements
- Employment information
- A list of assets and debts you brought into the marriage
Take Inventory of Your Non-Marital Assets
Not everything in a divorce has to be split 50/50. Assets that you brought to your marriage, ranging from your vehicle to your personal debts, will likely continue to be yours. Even smaller items like cooking utilities can remain yours, but what’s important is you take inventory.
Make a detailed list of what you brought into the marriage and what you jointly own. Be as honest as you can be when making this list. It’s also important to account for any paperwork you might have that proves you are the owner of these items.
Registration, titles, deeds, and receipts all hold up as proof of ownership. You might also want to get some items appraised either by a professional or yourself through online research.
Don’t be overwhelmed by smaller assets. Smaller items can be grouped together to make the process simpler. For example, all of your kitchen forks, knives, and spoons, can simply be labeled as “Kitchen Silverware.”
Get Your Finances in Order
You may have already gathered some of your financial records before. Now you need to take inventory of all your money. You’ll want to take note of:
- Bank statements
- Credit reports
- Health savings
- Personal loans
- Retirement accounts
You’re also going to need to update your banking information. If you have separate bank accounts, change your passwords so your spouse can’t access your money.
If you have a joint account, open up a new checking and savings account and update your direct deposit information to make sure your paychecks aren’t going into your joint account. If you’re feeling especially protective of your income, consider switching banks.
You’ll also want to start budgeting and creating an emergency fund. It can be hard to predict what your financial situation is going to look like once the divorce is over. It’s best to prepare yourself for both a single income and any financial burdens you have to face after the divorce.
Find Out What Legal Fees You’ll Have
No matter how you come out of your divorce, you’re going to have legal fees. While also creating your budget, you’re going to need to factor in your legal costs. It’s best to have a conversation with your divorce attorney early on in the proceedings about the costs.
It’s important to have this conversation as soon as possible so you don’t face any surprise fees. If you feel your divorce attorney isn’t advising in your best financial interest, consider other attorneys in your area.
Build A Support System
Divorce is tough, there’s no way around it and you’re going to need some help. You’ll need to carefully explain the situation to your friends and family and let them know why the divorce is happening.
Once you’ve explained your situation, don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll need help. Think about what you’ll need help with going forward. You might need a place to stay until the divorce is over, a person to talk about how you’re feeling, or someone to help get your assets in place.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. You’re going to need help and Bineham & Gillen assist you through this difficult time.
Here at Bineham & Gillen, we’ve seen many types of divorce scenarios. From military divorce to LGBT divorce, We can help with the division of assets, make sure child support payments are fair, get you a temporary restraining order, and more. If you’re in San Antonio, contact us today.