You and your spouse will divide marital assets during divorce proceedings. Whether you are the higher earning spouse or not, this can be a difficult time. We recommend the following financial tips to prepare for divorce.
Get your paperwork organized
During a divorce, you need to prove all marital assets. Getting your paperwork organized ahead of time can reduce stress, decrease the likelihood a spouse will try to hide assets and bring transparency to divorce proceedings. Gather all bank statements, tax documents, credit card statements, investment account statements and retirement account balances. Consider getting valuable items appraised. Make copies of everything so you have your own personal set of documents.
Get your own credit card (and check your credit report
An unwelcome surprise after divorce could be a decreased credit score. When you know you are getting divorced, open a credit card in your name. Then you can make a few transactions, pay off your bill in full, and demonstrate good credit worthiness. While you have credit cards on your mind, check your credit report. If any debts that are not yours show up, take steps to have them removed. Do not let an ex’s spending habits impact your credit when you are starting out on your own.
Review your estate plan
Your former spouse was likely the beneficiary on any life insurance, retirement accounts, and other estate planning documents. You’ll need to remove this person and appoint others to benefit from your estate. It’s important to do this after a divorce; otherwise, your ex could receive your assets or dictate your medical care if something were to happen to you.
Get professional help
You don’t and you shouldn’t go through a divorce alone. At the very minimum, hire a divorce attorney who can represent you during the proceedings. A divorce attorney can help you prepare for divorce, minimizing the impact on your life. Your attorney can review all financial statements, suggest additional steps for you to take, and alleviate your stress by negotiating with the other party.