Even under the best of circumstances, divorce proceedings are stressful for all involved. If you plan appropriately, however, it is possible to minimize that stress. As an added bonus, proper planning can help save money and, in many cases, encourage a more amicable divorce. Reap all of these benefits using the following divorce planning tips.
Take an Asset and Expense Inventory
Child support, division of marital assets, and other financial particulars of a divorce are based upon what you and your spouse own as both individuals, and as a couple. Unfortunately, once the proceedings start, this information may be difficult to locate (this is especially true if your spouse is trying to hide any assets to keep more of the money for themselves). Avoid this hassle (and reduce your risk of losing out on money that may be owed to you) by taking a preemptive approach prior to filing.
Gather information on assets, debts, and sources of income. Collect and make copies of at least three years of tax returns and as many months of pay stubs and/or bank statements as possible. Obtain documentation on retirement benefits, savings accounts, insurance policies, and any other assets you or your spouse may have (including jewelry, vehicles, artwork, and other collectibles). And take photographs of anything you cannot get on paper since, sometimes, these items can "disappear" during a divorce.
You will also want to track your individual expenses during this time. This will help you establish your personal cost of living and give both your attorney and judge a clear picture of what your financial status will be after the divorce. Lastly, you may want to consider separating as much as you can now. Change your passwords and obtain all statements electronically; just do not try to hide money since this can be considered dishonesty and fraud later on down the road.
Start Saving Now
More often than not, couples fail to realize just how expensive divorce can be. Attorney fees, court costs, and moving costs are all factors that should be considered. Save for these costs ahead of time, and do not use money that would be considered marital property (i.e. retirement accounts, etc.). All in all, you will want to have about three months’ worth of income saved, along with at least a few thousand for attorney fees.
Begin Monitoring and Establishing Credit
Credit is a factor that many couples completely overlook. Unfortunately, this can have a significant impact on your way of life after the divorce. There will be accounts that have to be closed, which can damage your credit rating. Begin building credit ahead of time to minimize the damage.
You will also want to monitor your credit in the months leading up to the divorce. In some instances, soon-to-be ex-spouses will retaliate by running up credit balances or opening up new accounts; proper monitoring can help you stay on top of things. Get a free report to start with and then consider paying for a monthly alert and tracking service for maintenance.
Get Qualified Legal Help
Above all else, it is important that you seek qualified legal help from an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. With over 200 years of combined experience, Mevorah Offices LLC can meet your needs with personalized services and, when necessary, aggressive representation. To get started, call 630-932-9100 and schedule your free initial consultation today.
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