Getting Your Finances in Order Before a Divorce

If you are heading for a divorce, then you will have many things on your mind, and spending time looking at your finances is probably the last thing you want to be doing right now.  However, your financial security after the divorce is definitely something that you need to consider, and being prepared now will mean that you will be in a much better situation later.

Get all of your paperwork together.  Even if one of you has been responsible for all of the finances during the marriage, which is often the case, you now both need to be aware of the situation.  Make sure you have copies of every document that relates to finances, whether it is mortgage and credit card statements, pension and investment details, or even just your bank statements.  Everything needs to be collected together and given to your lawyer, who will be able to use this information to get you the best possible settlement in the divorce.

  • Start saving.  Divorce can be a very expensive process, especially because good divorce lawyers do not come cheap.  Put aside as much as you can afford, as soon as you begin to contemplate divorce, and make sure that the account you use is in your name only.  This will allow you to make an initial payment and secure the services of your chosen lawyer.

  • Before you see your lawyer, collect all of your financial information.  This should include your income, any debt you have built up, savings, pensions, and investments.  Be prepared to go into detail about everything you spend, and keep your credit card and bank statements as evidence.  You will also need to provide details about any income that your spouse has, which you should be able to find on tax returns.

  • Try to resolve financial issues without proceeding to litigation, as this will be cheaper and easier for everyone involved.  However, this is less likely to be the case if you have children, for example, as child support is often a major cause of disagreements during divorce.  However, if this does need to be decided by a judge, then the amount of child support to be paid will be based on what the parent who does not have primary custody is able to afford.  This means that you need to have your finances up to date, or you may be asked to pay a higher amount than you can legitimately afford.

  • Once it has been decided that you and your spouse will be getting a divorce, you need to start keeping your money separate.  If you don’t already have your own bank account, now is the time to open one that is in your name only, and ensure that all of your income is paid into this account.  This is important because anything that is held in a joint account can legitimately be split equally between the two of you, leaving you with much less than you would have otherwise had.
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