Your financial situation after your divorce will likely look quite a bit different than it did during your marriage. It's never too soon to start preparing for your new reality.
Here are some of the first steps you should take to get started to increase your chances of remaining financially strong after your divorce is final:
Examine your finances and assets
Taking inventory of everything you own and assessing the value may be a long and tedious task, but it is one that you can't afford to skip. Some of your belongings will be considered separate property belonging only to you. Others count as marital assets.
They can include a wide range of things from the car you drive to the dishes in your kitchen. Your home will likely be included as will the furniture in it, and the art on the wall. Outstanding bills are also calculated with the assets, even though they are technically negative assets. Whatever does carry a larger value should be professionally assessed do you know what everything is worth.
Organize important documents
When you go through a divorce your financial life if out on the table, so it is a good idea to know where everything is and understand it the best you can. Take a look at the last five years, or as much time as you can and find tax records, bank statements and other accounts. If you own valuable items, such as jewelry or art, get it appraised in order to have an understanding of its true value.
Pull and examine your shared credit report
Not only will having a sense of what your credit is like give you a sense of how best to use this potential, the report itself often has clues that reveal large purchases or loans. This could be a sign that your spouse is attempting to hide money and deprive you of your fair share in the divorce settlement.
Start building your own credit
Once you are on your own, you will need to have credit that is not connected to your spouse. It is a good idea to try and build this up as soon as possible, especially if you are separated.
Open your own credit card accounts and keep the balances paid down in order to avoid paying interest. The more you show responsibility in this area, the higher your credit score will climb and you will receive offers for additional credit accounts. Your ability to manage this money will also look good in other respects including your ability to keep a responsible budget in your new household.
These are just some of the steps to take if you are thinking about getting divorced. An attorney can help you learn more about your options and make sure you are prepared for the future.