Money might not be the very first thing you of think of when a divorce is imminent, but perhaps it should be. It's only natural to feel at a loss and unsettled by the changes that a divorce is bound to bring. If you fail to pay attention to your dollars and cents, however, you might deeply regret it, however. Read below and find out about the three financial issues that deserve your attention before you even file for divorce.
1. Take Care of Large Sales and Purchases
Once you or your spouse files for divorce, your ability to take certain actions will be limited. Thanks to several different types of restraining orders, you may no longer have the right to sell your home or buy a car. These orders exist to protect spouses from removing what's known as marital assets. Your home, vehicles, bank and retirement accounts, and even the family pet might be considered marital assets. If you've been thinking about buying a new car or making some other large transaction, you might want to make that move now before you file for divorce. It's always inappropriate to drain an account or sell property without the consent of your spouse, but it's perfectly fine to carry through with previous plans.
2. Make Copies of Important Financial Papers
No matter how amicable you and your spouse intend to be throughout the divorce process, that might not happen. Couples can get into arguments over property, debt, child custody and anything else that carries emotional weight. Take some time to list and locate certain financial records before you file for divorce to prevent future issues. Once a divorce is filed and problems crop up, your spouse may very well change the log-in information for online joint accounts, hide the deed to the house, and pretend that there is no 401(k) retirement account. After a filing, your divorce attorney might need a court order to locate those documents. Consider making copies of all things financial before you file.
3. Make a Financial Snapshot of Marital Assets
You cannot get your fair share of marital property without knowing what is in play. A net worth statement may sound intimidating, but it's simpler than it sounds. There's no need to speak to an accountant – just make a list of your assets in one column and your debts in another. The difference is your net worth, but that isn't something you should focus on. This practice can help you see at a glance where you and your spouse stand on debt and assets. Knowing what you own and owe will become a key part of your divorce.
Your divorce law services advisor should be contacted for more information about any of the above.