As you ponder life after divorce, a good portion of your attention will turn to your finances. Although things are sure to change, especially if you were not the primary breadwinner in your marriage, there are steps you can take before and during your divorce to put yourself in the best possible position for success in the future.
Here are five important questions to answer as you prepare your finances for divorce (and the years to follow):
- Do you have copies of all your most important financial records? You'll need this during the divorce process and maybe in the future. These can include but are not limited to: bank account statements, retirement account statements, pay stubs and life insurance policies. You can never collect too much information.
- Do you have a clear idea of your assets and debts? You don't want to assume you'll work through this as you move through your divorce. It's best to get everything in order as soon as possible. For example, make a list of both joint and separate property.
- What is your credit score? This doesn't seem important, until you realize that it is a big deal when applying for a loan. Maybe you want to buy a house or a car after your divorce is finalized. With good credit, this is possible. With bad credit, you'll run into some issues along the way.
- What's the best way to cut expenses? You don't necessarily have to do this, but if you're going from two incomes to one, it's probably in your best interest.
- Where can you turn for help? Although you know your finances better than anyone else, there may come a time when you require some assistance. From a tax professional to a financial planner or an experienced family law attorney, there are people who can show you the way.
These are not the only questions to address as you prepare for divorce, so make sure you're willing to answer any others that move to the forefront.
There will be times when you feel bogged down by your divorce, especially as it pertains to your finances. As long as you know what to expect and how to move forward one step at a time, you'll realize that there is an end in sight.