Divorce is an inherently scary and stressful process. Not only are you grieving the loss of a relationship and imagined future, but you must accept some new financial realities, as well. These could include the loss of a second income, the splitting or loss of assets, a change in your living location, and/or a decreased lifestyle (at least at first). This is not even to mention caring for common children and their expenses in the process.
Divorce can have a devastating effect on many areas of a person’s life, but there are steps that can be taken to safeguard your financial stability amidst the chaos of the split.
1) Gather Important Documents ASAP: No matter how amicable a divorce may seem at first, there is always the possibility that your future ex-spouse could have a change of heart and make things significantly more difficult for you. Before filing for divorce, or immediately after being notified that your spouse has filed, you’ll want to gather your financial record. Gathering these documents could be quite time consuming so it’s best to get started right away. Additionally, your spouse could make gaining access to these records more difficult as the divorce progresses. Important documents to gather include:
- Recent pay stubs
- Investment account statements
- Retirement account statements
- Checking and savings account statement from the past year
- Loan documents for mortgage, vehicles, personal loans, business loans, etc.
- List of pre-marital assets and pre-marital debts
- List of marital assets and marital debts
- Income tax returns from the past 3 years
- Insurance policy information