The financial side of divorce
Going through a divorce may be a difficult time. There are important steps you can take to protect yourself financially, both now and in the future.
As you prepare to get a divorce, you may want to keep your financial situation as steady as possible and begin gathering information. Here are some tips for stabilizing your financial situation:
- Don’t make any large purchases or take out loans.
- Don’t transfer or give away any jointly held assets.
- Don’t sign anything before showing it to your attorney.
- Very early in the process, gather account statements and transaction histories for banking and investment accounts, loans, and credit cards.
- Gather past tax returns — from before and during the marriage.
- Make copies of all records.
- Check the contents of your safe-deposit boxes and record an inventory.
- Check your credit report.
- If you work with a financial professional, seek advice regarding the divorce.
Once you've taken these immediate steps, it is time to consider the longer-term effects. Ask yourself these questions:
- Look at your needs and income. Can you support yourself without your spouse’s income?
- Make a list of your assets, their value and whether you own them jointly. Which do you want to keep or give up?
- List your liabilities, too — loans and obligations. Which will you keep? Will you afford them on your own?
- How will getting a divorce affect your insurance coverage? Will you need to seek new coverage?
Here are some details to check after the divorce is final:
- Confirm that your former spouse’s name is off your accounts.
- Review and revise your beneficiaries for all your accounts, including: life, disability, health, dental and vision insurance, credit cards, bank and credit union accounts, and retirement plans.
- Review the number of dependents you’re claiming on your employee taxes.
- Look at your retirement savings plan. Now that you’re single, you may need to save more for retirement.
This can be a trying and confusing time. Consider getting guidance from a financial professional.