With a little forethought and preparation, you can streamline the divorce process beginning with the property division phase.
You also have a future to think about. Here are four tips to help you avoid mistakes before, during and after your divorce.
1. Educate yourself financially
If your spouse was the money manager in your marriage, it is time for you to discover everything you can about your current financial circumstances. Prepare a personal balance sheet by making a list of all your assets and liabilities. Your attorney will need a copy but keep a copy for yourself. Once you are comfortable with the basics such as household expenses, bank and credit card statements, you can familiarize yourself with tax returns and retirement accounts.
2. Stay tuned to the details
The more details there are, the more you may feel like distancing yourself from the whole divorce process. Remain engaged or you may miss an important piece of information that could make a difference to you going forward.
3. Plan for change
Life is always in flux. You could lose your job. Your child could become ill. An asset could depreciate. When you negotiate your divorce settlement agreement, remember to account for changes that might happen once the divorce is behind you.
4. Embrace a different lifestyle
Unless you are facing a high-asset divorce and can expect to continue a privileged post-divorce existence, you will likely face a lifestyle that is leaner than what you experienced during your marriage. Learning about your current finances will help you develop a budget you can manage. Knowing where you came from financially will help put you on the path to a secure future.