When going through a divorce, it’s important to take control of your own financial situation in order to make sure to get a fair shake out of the divorce settlement. After all, you don’t want to be the person walking away from the divorce with no real assets.
In general, the first thing to realize is that your financial situation will most likely change. No longer are there two incomes, or one income that was exclusively relied on. Instead, it’s best to just accept that there are going to be some things you may not be able to afford any more.
And, with that being said, while going through the divorce and attempting to reach some sort of fair settlement; do not get hung-up and attached to things that were purchased during the marriage. For example, sometimes one spouse will be insistent on wanting the marital home, but really cannot afford the payments or upkeep. In those situations, it’s actually sometimes better to not take the house.
Other tips to taking control of independent finances is to open up your own checking account, and then have a signed statement that protects whatever money is still in any joint accounts.
During this time it’s also advisable to see how much you spend in one month. The best way to do this is to pay with cash for everything. Then, at the end of the month if you realize that you are out of cash and using your credit card, this could be sign that you are spending outside of your means and acquiring debt.
Lastly, if you do decided to get married again in the future, make sure to protect your assets in the future and get a prenuptial agreement. And while it may not seem like the most romantic thing to do before a wedding, it is a smart choice that can save you from a lot of hassle latter on down the road if there is a divorce.
Of course this is not a complete list of tips to take control of finances, but it is a good starting point for spouses to start to think about as each starts on their road toward divorce.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Be the CEO of your divorce,” Jen Weigel, Aug. 23, 2011