As a married couple, your finances have undoubtedly become tangled, so it’s important to tread carefully as you prepare to go through the divorce process. People don’t always act rationally, and you need to make sure that someone is looking out for your interests.
In today's post, we are sharing a few tips to help you stay on track.
Hire Your Own Experienced Lawyer
Some couples are tempted to save money by divorcing without each having their own lawyer, but this can be risky. New Jersey is a state that requires “equitable distribution of assets” during divorce. This doesn’t mean that everything is split 50/50. “Equitable” can be subjective. If you don’t have your own legal representation, you might end up on the losing end of the deal.
Take Stock of Income, Assets, and Debts
Lay your finances out to see where you stand. This includes things like your home or vacation property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, student loan debt, and credit card debt. Review your budget so that you understand where money is spent. If you haven’t been overseeing the payment of bills, you may be surprised by how much all the little things cost.
Start establishing your own accounts and put a freeze on joint accounts. It’s sadly common for one person to run up a large credit card bill out of spite. You should see where your credit score stands and start to separate yourself financially from your former spouse.
Think About the Future
As you start to think about negotiations, consider what your life will look like. For instance, you may want to keep the marital home, but may not be able to handle the expenses on a single income. The costs of child care and children’s activities vary over the years. When you have a plan, things are more likely to go smoothly.
Change the Will
Couples often forget about changing their estate planning documents in divorce. When you divorce, you should have separate wills that allocate your assets to different beneficiaries. Your lawyer should be able to help you draw this up or recommend another attorney who can.
Going through a divorce is a challenge, but you can get through it, especially if you have a good attorney on your side.