It is an emotionally turbulent time when you are getting a divorce. Yet, you need to focus on the big picture and protect yourself, your children, and your financial future. Protecting your assets is important to help you avoid the long-term financial strain that results from a messy divorce. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself financially during a divorce.
Know Your Assets
A divorce involves financially separating yourself from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The most important step to take before you file for divorce is to identify all your assets. You need to know how much money you have in your name and where you can find the money. You need to identify all the joint accounts you have with your spouse and all the separate accounts in your name. These accounts include bank accounts, mortgages, credit cards, investment accounts, and any other assets. A judge needs to have a clear picture of who owns the assets in the marriage.
Get Copies of Financial Documents
Once you have identified your assets, you need to get copies of all financial statements and write a list of the current owners of those accounts. Start compiling as much documentation as possible to show the judge you have proof of your assets. Compile as many financial documents as you can from the past several years. You should include tax returns, bank statements, brokerage account statements, and any other financial documents.
Secure Your Assets
It is not uncommon for a spouse to liquidate all the joint accounts and leave the soon-to-be ex-spouse with no money. You can take a proactive approach by taking some money out of the joint accounts and opening a separate account in your name where you can put the money. You want to have enough money to pay your bills and attorney’s fees. Accessing this money will give you some breathing room during the divorce process. It will also help you avoid having an expensive emergency court hearing to get temporary child support or alimony.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
A divorce attorney can help you get the best possible financial outcome from your divorce. There are some differences in divorce laws in each state. A divorce attorney will know the laws in your state, especially when these laws deal with marital assets.
As you go through the divorce process, figure out what you need to maintain your standard of living. Work with your divorce attorney to come to an agreement that will keep you financially satisfied.