It is quite difficult to face the realization that a divorce is in one’s future. Whether you are the husband or the wife, one often feels an avalanche of emotions: Frustration, loss, perhaps even some level of failure. Experts say that for many spouses who are at a financial disadvantage, there’s often an additional issue with financial fears. Should you stay in the home? Can you really afford it? What does the income picture really look like?
As a first bit of advice: Take a deep breath. You can do this. Here are five financial checklist matters for any woman who is facing a divorce.
Checklist Item One: Make Copies and Build a File
This item is so basic that many fail to complete it. On one piece of paper, or in one electronic file, list every asset and debt account that you have. Now locate a copy of the latest statement. Make a copy or scan it into your computer. Make sure they are stored safely. You need to build a reference point from which to make your plans. This list of assets and liabilities is an effective start.
Checklist Item Two: Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
Do this for at least three reasons. First, it will give you a handle on your level of credit-worthiness. The higher your score, the more flexible you can be in the future. Even if your score is lousy, it’s better to know it and know it early. Second, the credit report will help you fill in any blanks in checklist item one; all your debts will be listed there. Third, if your spouse has “misbehaved” financially during the past year or so, it might be reflected in this report.
Checklist Item Three: Come up With a Realistic Post-Divorce Budget
Particularly if you anticipate that you’ll be negotiating the split of the marital assets, having a realistic budget in hand is important. You will know what you can afford to keep, what you need to let go, and how you will orient your financial future after the permanent entry of divorce.
Checklist Item Four: Segregate Some Funds for Legal Counsel
If your spouse has been in control of the finances, this may be easier said than done, but review your accounts and determine where you have the legal right to segregate some funds for your own protection. Even if it’s just a few thousand dollars, you will feel stronger, and you’ll be able to get some initial legal counsel when you need it.
Checklist Item Five: Build an Advisory Team
Divorce is an emotional time. Dealing with visitation and child care/support issues is difficult as well. If you have felt alone for years, break that cycle and get some experienced assistance. Call around, ask friends, do your research. But hire a skilled attorney to assist you. If your finances are complicated, consider retaining an accountant as well. While cost is a real consideration in these matters, saving a few dollars on the front end can be quite expensive down the road if you are not able to reach a favorable settlement with your spouse.
Skilled, Experienced Legal Counsel is a Must
Have you and your spouse discussed divorce? Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. has more than 30 years of combined experience providing quality legal services to individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our firm handles cases in a collaborative environment – attorneys working together to find solutions. You benefit from the experience of not just one attorney, but all the attorneys at Blado Kiger Bolan. We don’t believe in complicating matters and driving up costs. If there’s a simple solution, that’s our first choice. We work closely with you to resolve matters quickly and economically. Contact us on the web, or call our office at 253-272-2997.