A divorce can be overwhelming and traumatic, making it easy to neglect finances. But planning is crucial to your financial future, so it’s important to take the time to go everything carefully.
Here are three steps to take to make the process easier:
1. Take Stock
Create a list of everything you and your spouse own that’s worth a considerable amount of money. While you’re doing this, take pictures and note dates in case things wind up missing. You should also make a list of all your joint and individual accounts.
Next, make sure to list all your joint debts. This can be a mortgage or even a credit card used solely for bills and household appliances. This debt will need to be split, so make sure you have statements in order. If you have any credit cards together, it’s a good idea to freeze those right away.
Finally, make sure you don’t hide any of your assets. This can make things messy and prolong the process.
2. Set a Budget
You probably had everything on autopilot when you were with your partner, but now you’ll have to step back and set your new budget.
You should start with factoring in lawyer and court fees for the divorce process. Those can get expensive and you may even go into debt. Once you estimate those expenses, look at your other bills and calculate what you’ll owe every month. Don’t forget to add things like new home furnishings and a security deposit for a new apartment (if that’s what you’re doing).
3. Ask for Help
If you’re overwhelmed or unsure of anything, ask for help from a certified financial planner or accountant.
If you own a business or multiple properties with your partner, this is especially true. A professional can provide objective advice about what your assets are worth.
Although these steps don’t make the divorce any easier, they can at least help you navigate the tricky financial changes you’ll be tackling.