In general, divorce is not easy for anyone. It often takes both an emotional and physical toll. In addition, without some planning, it can put a major dent in your finances. Even if you end up with a substantial amount of your marital assets, you might still find yourself in a financial mess if you do not make some key preparations.
While your accountant, financial advisor and your attorney are probably the best people to provide advice for your specific circumstances, a few general tips might be helpful to get you started. The following is some advice to help you protect your wallet during your divorce.
Not all advice is equal
Your friends and family members probably have all sorts of advice for you. For example, maybe your best friend is recommending that you keep your Lancaster home. While this might be tempting, you have to think about what keeping the house entails. Can you afford the mortgage without your wife’s income? What about the regular lawn maintenance, heating and cooling system repairs, and any other items that might require professional service? Be sure you make decisions that are relevant for your specific situation.
Make a budget
Keep track of your current expenses and use this to plan for what you might need in the future. This will help you set a minimum for what you need from your divorce settlement. This will also help the judge in his or her decision on how to split your marital assets if you and your wife cannot reach a fair agreement outside of the courtroom.
Get your records in order
Gather as much of your financial documents as possible. For instance, get copies of past tax returns, current bank records, credit card statements, and the purchase documents and mortgage information on your home. Also, make a complete list of all of the assets and debt you and your husband acquired during your marriage.
Do not make big decisions
The midst of your divorce is not the time to make any major financial decisions. For example, do not change the beneficiaries on your life insurance until your divorce is final. The same holds true for your retirement accounts. If you make these kinds of preemptive moves, a judge may think you are trying to keep your spouse from receiving her fair share of certain property and choose to award her more of the marital assets.
If you are considering divorce, the above advice can help you get your finances ready. With proper planning, you can protect your financial future from the negative aspects of divorce.