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Tips for preparing financially for your divorce

The winter was long. And, it was hard. You and your husband fought constantly from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Valentine's Day. You finally decided to file for divorce. But, you decided to wait until after you file for taxes together and get your tax return.

While you hurry up and wait, there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself financially for the divorce. Doing them will help the process go more smoothly when you do file.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Getting divorced will hugely impact your finances in ways that you may or may not have anticipated. If you decide that it's best to get divorce, according to Jeff Landers, you should take these steps to prepare your finances:

1. Get your financial documents in order. Gathering all your financial information and organizing it will greatly assist the divorce process once it begins. Here is some information that you should locate:

  • income information
  • tax information
  • banking information
  • pension and investment plans
  • real-estate information
  • loan information
  • any estate planning documents

2. Think about how you would like to divide your marital property. Some guiding questions might include:

  • What do you want to keep, what would you be willing to give up?
  • How do you want to divide the marital assets that you won't want to keep?
  • Do you need to pay alimony for your spouse? Will your spouse need to pay alimony to you?

3. Check into your credit. Your credit score will be important for your future financial decisions as a newly single woman. Your divorce will likely impact your credit score, and knowing where you are ahead of time will help you make better decisions.

4. Get bank and credit card accounts in your own name. As a married woman, you may have joint accounts with your husband. Setting up your accounts now in your own name may be a good idea.

5. Know your tax situation. You are filing for taxes jointly with your spouse this year, but next year your tax status will be different. Your financial situation will be different, and whatever your divorce settlement looks like will greatly impact your status in the eyes of Uncle Sam. Get whatever information you can ahead of time.

6. Put together your professional divorce team. Finding a good lawyer is a given, but it's important to find one who can help you navigate the financial impact of your divorce.

The decision to get a divorce is often an emotional one. It is also a very practical one with huge financial implications. You have probably asked yourself would it be better to stay married or is it worth the financial cost to get divorced? If you do choose to get a divorce, it's important to work with a lawyer who can help you understand the financial costs associated with divorce and weigh other pros and cons to determine the best solution for you.

No matter whom you work with, or when you choose to file, doing the above mentioned things to financially prepare you for the divorce process will help make the process go more smoothly.

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