The long-term financial impacts of divorce can be expensive. If both spouses worked during the marriage, they will now be going from two incomes to one, with their collective income now supporting two sets of living expenses, as well as funding two separate savings and retirement accounts. Essentially, removing the financial stability of a dual income home. However, planning ahead can help. If you are considering a divorce, many financial advisors and attorneys suggest taking the following steps, so you are on firmer financial ground if and when you decide to file.
Gather Documents - It is critical to know what your current financial standing is, especially if it has been your spouse who has been the one to primarily handle household expenses. The first step is to obtain all copies of any bank accounts and investments statements for the past year. If you and your spouse own property or vehicles, you also want to make sure you have copies of any deeds and/or titles.
Determine Your Debts - Knowing what debts you owe is also very important, too. The marital estate is not just assets, but also includes debts and decisions need to be made about which spouse will be responsible for which debts. One of the best ways to see what you owe is to request your credit report.
Establish Credit - This is also a good time to open up a bank account in your name only so you can begin saving money, as well as open up at least one credit card in your name only to make sure you have your own credit established.
Expenses for Children - Once the process of divorce has begun, there are other key factors to consider. Make sure any settlement that concerns children is not just about child support. Other expenses can often get overlooked during negotiations such as school expenses, summer camp, braces, and college. If these are not specifically addressed in the final court order, the other parent may not be financially responsible for any part of these expenses. You and your ex will also have to decide on which parent will take the children as tax deductions each year. One common way many parents agree on is to each take alternative years.
Family Home - It is also important to be financially realistic about the outcome of the final settlement. For example, is keeping the house financially beneficial in the long-term? Can you actually afford it on your post-divorce income? By getting the house, are you losing out on other, more lucrative marital assets? And once the dust has settled, will you be able to afford the home on just your income alone or will the expenses cause a financial hardship?
The process of divorce can be very complicated and it is important to have a knowledgeable Naperville, IL divorce lawyer advocating for you. Call J. Aldrich Law, P.C. at 630-953-3000 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what your best legal options may be.