Divorcing in the New Year? Plan Ahead
If you have come to the difficult decision that a divorce is in your future but are putting the matter off until after the holidays, that is perfectly understandable. After all, the global pandemic coupled with the stress of the holidays is likely enough for right now. This does not, however, mean that you should put your divorce out of your mind until it is officially underway. In fact, there are several steps you can take now that can help your divorce go more smoothly when the time comes.
Think Carefully About Your Budget
One certainty of nearly every divorce is that both spouses' finances take a hit, which means that careful planning regarding your post-divorce budget is in order. It is also important, however, to have a firm handle on your family’s budget right now. This is going to be the raw material that moves your divorce forward. Divorce, in essence, comes down to financial matters and child custody issues, and the better versed you are regarding your finances, the better off you will be moving forward. If yours is a high-asset divorce, you own a business, or there is another financial complication involved, you should expect your divorce process to take longer and to possibly require forensic accounting.
Gather Your Documents
Your divorce's finances will be predicated on financial documents, and gathering them ahead of time can save you a significant amount of time and frustration during the divorce process. These documents should include:
You and your spouse’s payroll stubs
Documentation of you and your spouse’s retirement accounts and other retirement perks
Health insurance invoices
Several months of bank statements for all your accounts (shared and separate)
Tax filings for the last several years
Your monthly bills
Financial Portfolio containing all your investments and financial holdings
Anything else pertinent to your family’s finances
Doing the legwork now can prove invaluable in the new year when you move forward with filing.
Consider Your Credit
If your marital credit is all in your spouse’s name – or both of your names – it is time to think about establishing your own credit by obtaining a credit card in your name (shop around for reasonable rates and policies). Doing this will help you begin to develop your own credit and will provide you with some financial wiggle room as you move forward into the divorce process, which can be financially hectic, to say the least.