Get Handle on Finances Before Divorcing

According to a recent article in USA Today, in many marriages one spouse is often left in the dark about finances, paying bills, and managing money in general. Whether they are married or in the throes of divorce proceedings, one spouse is generally in charge of finances. In the majority of cases, this tends to be the wife, who traditionally may have stayed home to raise children or only worked part-time while the husband worked full-time and acted as the primary breadwinner. When the parties decide to divorce, however, this situation can pose a distinct disadvantage for the spouse without financial knowledge or savvy.

Even for divorcing couples with relatively equal incomes, the standard of living for both spouses may change dramatically following a divorce. Basic math tells us that two households simply maintain the same income and expenses as a single household after a divorce has occurred. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare yourself financially if you are thinking about divorce, going through a divorce, or even if you are recently divorced.

First, you should meet with a financial advisor in order to take complete inventory of your financial situation. You need to have a clear picture of the income that it will take to pay your bills and perhaps even support your children on your own. In many cases, you will have to find a job to support yourself, or a better-paying job, or begin working full-time instead of part-time. A divorce planning attorney in Wheaton, Illinois can help you with this.

You also should start taking notice of the assets and liabilities that you own jointly with your spouse, so as to properly account for those items during your divorce proceedings. You want to ensure that your spouse has not hidden assets from you, and that you receive all property to which you are entitled. Likewise, you will want to close any joint accounts such as credit cards, start putting aside some of your own cash, perhaps to pay for a divorce attorney, and establish your own bank accounts.

Aside from going over your current financial situation, a financial advisor can review important documents and accounts in order to avoid any unwanted surprises. For instance, you will need to change your will with an estate planning attorney, as well as change any beneficiary designations on retirement accounts or life insurance policies to a person other than your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.

By taking these steps, you can better prepare yourself for the typical financial aftereffects of a divorce, and avoid getting in a financial situation that places your home and ability to support yourself at risk. For more advice about how you can protect yourself in the event of a divorce, contact your DuPage County divorce attorney for advice today.