Couples face a lot of challenges during divorce — from trying to overcome an emotionally traumatic situation to dealing with the day-to-day aspects of separating a life that was once entwined together. Divorce comes with many challenges, but separating finances during divorce is one that can get complicated and messy.
Start New, Then Remove the Old
Most people will want to get new accounts during or immediately after divorce. Joint accounts may go to one part and not the other or may be dissolved with both parties getting new accounts beforehand. Either way, it’s a good idea to be prepared for your joint accounts to be gone by getting set up with new, individual accounts. Things like bank accounts and credit cards may have legal requirements during divorce so make sure you check before getting a new account! It’s also a good idea to determine who, if anyone, is going to retain access to the joint account and who will be removed from the account.
Try to Remember the Little Things
When you’re separating finances during divorce, it’s easy to remember the big things: who will keep the checking account? Who’s going to be responsible for the credit card debt accrued during the marriage? Will anyone get money for retirement? These are the big things that are part of untangling your finances, but there are also many little things that you’ll need to consider. Don’t forget to look at things like holiday savings accounts, smaller investments, and even the accounts that you use day-to-day. Each of these will need to be separated at some point, too.
Make a List
One of the easiest ways to get a clear picture of what you need to separate is by making a list. List out all of your debts and assets as soon as you know the divorce is coming. Not only will this help you remember everything you need to separate but it can also be useful for the legal side of the divorce. You’ll likely need this information for the court while you’re divorcing so having it ready can be helpful.
Get Everything in Writing
If you come to an agreement with your spouse on anything in the divorce process, it’s a good idea to get it in writing. Make sure that if you’re negotiating anything that it’s done in writing so that you have that protection. While it’s always best to use legal help to make any agreements, it’s not always possible to use an attorney to make those agreements. By getting it in writing, you can protect your interests in the event that things go south during the divorce.
Spend Some Time With Accounts
If you are the person in the marriage who managed the majority of the finances, you’ve likely done more than just physically pay the bills. You probably are the one who knows the account numbers, passwords and any login information needed to pay the bills. Spend some time with this information and make sure that the other party also has any information they need to know. Just because you’ve memorized the logins or account numbers, doesn’t mean they have, too.
Note Financial Changes
Your finances can (and probably will) change a lot during a divorce. Whether you’re paying additional bills, you’re getting a new job, or you’re having to handle financial situations that you’ve never handled before can all have a huge impact on your finances. Make note of these changes before the process starts and while you’re going through the divorce. While they may not have an impact on the way that your divorce works out, you may find that you need them in the future.
Consider Money as It Relates to Other Factors
When you’re looking at the money situation, it’s important to also include any other factors that might impact your money. In many instances, this means children. Who will be financially responsible for the kids? You will likely split the cost of children, but how will that be worked out? Consider whether you want to have a child support order and figure out what that will look like. While it’s common to let a court decide on child support, many couples find that they can work something out that’s fair for both parties and the children!
No matter what your financial situation looked like before the divorce, separating finances during divorce can be a frustrating process. It’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for everything you need to do with both the marital finances and your own finances. Working with a divorce financial planner can have a big impact on your ability to thrive after the divorce. Contact Wiser Divorce Solutions today.