Financial Triage You Should Do as Soon as You’ve Decided to Divorce

Posted by Josh Valentine | Mar 17, 2021

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. 

Marital Funds

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.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar