Divorce is not only emotionally draining– it’s financial draining! Unless, of course, you take the proper steps to avoid a messy outcome. And yes, you can do exactly that. With the right guidance, your divorce can be a breeze.
But first, you need to do your homework. Untangling you and your partner’s money can be messy business. The first step is to prepare and organize your finances therefore avoiding any unnecessary trouble.
To get on the right track you must be aware of what you need to do.
So start by keeping an eye on your expenses. A watchful eye, in fact. Know where your spending occurs and keep extra money on the side for unseen expenses. You will want to track your household income and how each spouse spends it. Find the documentation and organize it. This will be helpful for your attorney later on when deciding how to split assets and debt.
Gather as much as you can: household bills, receipts for food, clothing, activities, transportation, maintenance, etc. Take a look at your bank and credit card statements, current and previous years. Have you identified a pattern? Now make a calculation and prediction: can you keep living this way after the divorce? It’s always best to be safe than sorry. Assume you will have less cushion and prepare to live more conservatively.
You will also want to check your retirement account statements, investment account statements, ledgers for loans (auto, mortgage, school), pay stubs, and income tax returns. Once you are familiar with these documents put them in your file. The more in depth your case becomes, the more likely your settlement will be satisfactory.
So take this time to carefully comb through your finances. Doing the research yourself not only makes you more informed of the divorce process, but it saves you a significant chunk of change. Be smart and frugal in your divorce – do your research and rest will come together.