The financial side of divorce

Going through a divorce isn’t easy. And while change is inevitable, there are some important steps that can help financially protect yourself and your family, now and in the future.

Gather your records

As you prepare to divorce, take the time to organize financial information to get a better understanding of your net worth. 

  • Gather account statements and transaction histories for banking and investment accounts, loans and credit cards.
  • Collect past tax returns—from both before and during the marriage.
  • Check the contents of your safe-deposit boxes and record an inventory.
  • Check your credit report. While marital status doesn’t affect your credit score, any debts related to joint bills might.

Avoid large transactions

  • Don’t make any large purchases or take out loans since these could impact any settlements or judgments.
  • Don’t transfer or give away any jointly held assets as there may be implications or restrictions once legal action has formally begun.

Consider the longer-term effects

  • 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 be able to pay them off?
  • How will getting a divorce affect your benefits or insurance coverage? Will you need to seek new coverage?
  • What changes need to be made to any life insurance policies? Ensuring that policies are in order and up-to-date can help financially protect children and their future.

After the divorce

Here are some details to check after the divorce is final:

  • Confirm that your former spouse’s name is removed from you 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 stressful and confusing time, but you don’t have to manage the financial decisions alone. Consider consulting a financial advisor as you prepare and plan for this new future.