How to Financially Survive Divorce
Divorce is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, arguments, and stress. Even amicable couples struggle with the reality of ending their marriage and adjusting to a new way of life.
One of the most significant aspects of divorce is money. Safeguarding your assets is crucial to ensure your future. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you could leave your marriage without financial security.
Below are tips that could help you to survive your divorce financially.
Track Your Expenses
Start tracking your household income and expenses before you file for divorce. Preparing for what’s to come is impossible if you don’t know your spouse plans to file. However, once they do, or once you decide to file yourself, keep track of every expense to help you budget for your daily cost of living when the divorce is final.
Your monthly budget should include typical expenses, such as:
- Rent or mortgage
- Utilities and telephone
- Home repairs and maintenance
- Vehicle payments or transportation costs
You can review your bank accounts and financial statements to determine your estimated monthly spending from previous years.
Projecting your future spending is also essential. You must determine whether you can continue to afford ongoing expenses. You should also account for possible alimony or child support, whether you will likely have to pay your spouse or your spouse will have to pay you.
Budgeting for the future should also include costs beyond your monthly spending habits. You must evaluate your financial needs for vacations, holidays, and unexpected bills, such as fixing an air conditioning unit. You should also prepare for changes in circumstances, such as your child transitioning from daycare to school, and budget for tuition, afterschool activities, and other expenses.
Collect Financial Documents
Gathering documentation related to your marital finances can be time-consuming. However, protecting your money and assets during a divorce is necessary.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state, meaning the courts divide marital property based on what’s equitable and fair. If you and your spouse share bank accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets, the judge will split everything according to equitable distribution.
Determine which accounts you own with your spouse and which are separate. That way, you know your rights while negotiating property division terms.
Print out or make copies of documents, such as:
- Investment account statements
- Checking and savings account statements
- Recent pay stubs
- Ledgers for loans, including auto loans, mortgages, and personal loans
- Retirement account statements
- Credit card statements
- Income tax returns
- Paperwork about other assets and debts brought into the marriage and incurred while married
Plan for Opposition
You and your spouse might be on good terms. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the divorce will be simple. You should anticipate opposition and keep your guard up until the divorce is final.
Although your spouse says, they want you to keep the house or not to worry about paying alimony, taking their word at face value is dangerous. They can change their mind and blindside you later during negotiations.
You can protect yourself by being thoroughly familiar with every aspect of your marriage, including your finances. Bring relevant documents to meetings and hire an experienced divorce lawyer to assist you with the process. Going into legal proceedings knowing you’re ready for any obstacle can give you peace of mind.
Avoid Major Financial Decisions
Once you and your spouse sign on the dotted line, the divorce decree will determine the financial changes you can expect moving forward. You might feel tempted to get ahead of potential issues by changing the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies or transferring a significant sum of money into your savings account before the divorce is final.
However, you should refrain from impulsive actions that affect your finances and can hurt you during divorce proceedings. Judges often look at those decisions as strategies to undermine the other spouse’s rights to specific assets. You should talk to your attorney before modifying any financial or legal documents.
Spend Your Money Conservatively
Using a joint bank account for frivolous spending during a divorce is reckless. Although it is partially your money, it’s an asset you share with your spouse. The judge might view your sudden shopping spree as vengeful. It can backfire on you later while the judge decides on the division of property and debts.
You should maintain your usual spending habits by only using joint accounts for necessary expenses, such as the mortgage, car payments, and groceries. Keeping your spouse in the loop about these matters is also crucial. Both of you should be on the same page and know the state of your accounts.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be detrimental to a person’s finances. With proper planning, you can avoid leaving the marriage with few or no assets. Setting yourself up for stability is essential while ironing out the issues related to your divorce.
The Atlanta divorce attorneys of Kessler & Solomiany, LLC have represented Atlanta clients in divorces and other family law matters for over 30 years. You can count on us to fight to protect your interests. Call us at (404) 688-8810 for a confidential consultation today to learn more about financially surviving your divorce.