Facing the reality of divorce throws many people into a lot of turmoil. It is important, however, to keep your eye on practical matters. Chief among those are your finances. It is a smart idea to begin separating your finances before you file for divorce, so that you are not blindsided with bills that you suddenly cannot pay once the divorce process is in full swing. The best way to go about this is to review your finances and determine your future needs.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are able to agree on asset division, this could save you a lot of hassle and expense in court. While most people think of property division as 50/50, keep in mind that assets that look similar on paper may have various financial consequences. For example, a piece of property may have a high listed value but may also be very difficult to sell. Taxation is another area that can affect what an asset will actually cost you.
Now that each of you will be paying bills separately, it is also time to decide who will stay in the marital home and who will move out. Once that is determined, you need to transfer the utility bills to the name of the spouse who is staying, and also take the moving spouse’s name off the mortgage, deed or rental agreement. Otherwise, one ex-spouse could remain responsible for these bills if the other incurring them fails to pay.
This is also the time to separate your bank and credit card accounts. Remove your name from joint accounts, or close them and open new ones in just your name. Anything that the two of you owned in common now needs to be separated and listed under one name only.
Another important financial area is that of insurance policies. Policies relating to property like houses or cars should be in the name of the person who will be keeping the property. If you were listed as a dependent on your spouse’s health insurance, you should start looking into obtaining your own policy. If you have life insurance, consider whether you still want your spouse to be the beneficiary.
Figuring out property division can be complicated; the same goes for handling all the attendant paperwork. Even if you and your spouse basically agree as to the provisions, it is a good idea to consult a professional to ensure that your agreement is fair to you. An experienced attorney can help you sort out your finances and protect your interests throughout the divorce process.