If you're contemplating a divorce, you may be wondering if you can afford it and what your upcoming financial road may look like. Divorce is a complicated process both emotionally and financially, but it will be important to separate the two. Making the right financial decisions (while leaving your emotions out of it) will set you up for a more stable future.
Identifying your assets - and debts - and recognizing the need for change will help you to better prepare for what's ahead, plus knowing your financial picture can help you to be more practical in spite of the emotions you may be feeling.
Steps to take
There are some steps you can take before or at the beginning of a divorce to put yourself on more stable ground financially:
- Seek professional advice. Friends and family will have much to offer in the way of advice, but they don't know the particulars of your situation. It's best to stick with the professionals-including an attorney and financial counselor.
- Gather your financial information. To understand your full financial picture, you'll want to find pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, information about investments, credit card statements and any other financial information.
- Save your money and be conservative. Spending wisely now will help you down the road with legal fees and the expenses of a second household once you split.
- Open your own bank accounts and credit cards to start the separation of funds and build credit in your name.
- Think long-term and set realistic goals. If you ultimately can't afford to keep the house, you may want to consider letting it go. Instead, put your effort into securing other assets that may have greater financial stability.
- Accept that your lifestyle is going to change.
Divorce can be overwhelming, but planning ahead will help you to better navigate the process. Making some monetary changes and understanding your full financial situation will ensure that you are an informed participant in your divorce proceedings.