Deciding to get a divorce is the first step in a series of complex decisions about the end of your marriage, but it doesn't have to be a costly decision. Figuring out your finances as soon as you've decided divorce is your best option will ensure you will be protected financially in the long run. Additionally, working with a skilled divorce attorney can offer you peace of mind and point out the areas of your marriage finances that need further investigation.
Make Lists and Get Organized
When you decide to get divorced, the first thing you should do is make a list of all the accounts you and your spouse have, together and separately. If you are unsure about where your finances are kept, or even what they are, do some investigation to see what you can find out. Don't forget to make copies of financial documents as you find them. These documents will better help your attorney assist you in getting spousal or custody support after your divorce.
Credit Cards and Joint Debt
When you're married, your credit is intertwined with your partner's. If you've co-signed on a credit card or other type of loan, you'll still be on the hook for those payments even after divorce. To undo this, you will have to go through every account and determine who will be responsible for assuming the debt.
This is also an excellent time to open a credit card in just your name. Depending on your credit score, it may be more challenging after divorce to get one on your own. With all the financial confusion that may ensue, having a safety net for yourself will alleviate some of that stress.
Whether you're single, married, or divorced, you should continually monitor your expenses. But when you're thinking about divorce, it's essential to monitor your marital funds. Marital funds are the funds you and your spouse share, like joint checking accounts, debts acquired after marriage, inheritances, and gifts from one spouse to the other. Make sure you know where this money is going, and if you find that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is using these funds irresponsibly, make copies and point that out later to the court.
When you get married, you never imagine that divorce is in your future. You make plans as a couple for your new little family. At Caulder and Valentine, we know the decision to get divorced is not made lightly, which is why we endeavor to make it as painless as possible. If you're in the Shelby or Gastonia areas of North Carolina, call us today to schedule a consultation. We can help you figure out how to triage your financials from the moment you decide divorce is your best option, easing some of the stress down the line.