Ready For Divorce: Five Key Moves

If you have decided that, despite your best efforts, your marriage cannot be saved, you can increase the chances of a stress-free divorce by preparing ahead. Taking stock of your financial state is vital to ensure that you and your children continue to not just survive, but thrive, through this tumultuous process. Read on for 5 key moves that will help you be ready for the coming financial storm of divorce.

1.  Assemble needed paperwork. It takes an enormous amount of documentation to divorce, and you need your own copies of these important papers.

  • Make a list of account numbers and contact information for banks, investments, loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc.
  • Deeds and titles to all property: real estate, vehicles, boats, etc.
  • Tax returns for the last several years.
  • Pay stubs for both spouses for the last year and other salary information.
  • Legal documents such as wills, power of attorney, prenuptial agreements, separation agreements.

2.  Determine the net worth of the marital property. Using the above information, deduct your debts (loans, credit cards, mortgages) from your assets (real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds); the resulting figure is the marital net worth. Leave out any inheritances that have been kept in separate accounts. Once an inheritance is co-mingled, it becomes community property and part of the marital estate. These computations will help you (and your attorney) estimate your share of both the property and debt for your upcoming divorce.

3.  Get as credit-worthy as possible. Check your credit score and take steps to bring your score up if needed. A good credit score will now become far more important to you as a single person. Correct any errors on the report and pay down as much debt as possible. Some free credit score websites have tools that let you see how much certain actions will increase your score.

4.  Plan ahead for living without your spouse. Alimony, or spousal support has not disappeared entirely, but is now more often a temporary form of support. If needed, polish up your resume or research the possibility of returning to school or getting some job training.

5.  Get good legal advice. Consultation early on with a lawyer will benefit you by giving you an idea of the cost of divorce and the money-saving options available such as mediation and collaborative divorces.

Divorce is never easy, but with proper planning and preparation, you can certainly make the process much easier. Talk over the legal aspects of your divorce with an experienced divorce attorney and get the professional assistance you need to get through this experience without sacrificing your financial security.