Follow These Tips to Protect Your Finances During Divorce
Untangling two lives is never easy, but untangling two people’s finances can get especially messy. Before any final agreement is reached on spousal and child support, you need to prepare your finances for what’s to come. Here are some tips:
Beware of friends’ advice. Divorce is different in every state and for every couple, so take advice you get from a friend with that proverbial grain of salt. You should only rely on advice regarding your divorce from your attorney, who is experienced with how the divorce process works in Indiana generally and in your situation specifically.
Keep track of expenses. Once you decide on divorce, track your income and household expenses. This is important not only to help your attorney and the court decide how to split assets, but also for helping you create a post-separation/divorce budget.
Gather your documents. Your attorney will need all of your financial records — yours alone (if you have any separate from your spouse) and your marital financial records. These include statements from bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and credit card accounts as well as tax returns for the past three years, loan information (mortgage, car, personal), a list of assets and debts that you had prior to the marriage and those you accumulated during the marriage. You will also need to provide proof of income (W-2 or 1099 forms) as well.
Anticipate resistance. Even if you think your divorce will be amicable, you should prepare yourself for some conflict over financial matters. If you do not have a cordial relationship with your ex, prepare for a fight. Gathering all of your paperwork prior to the filing can help decrease the likelihood of conflict.
Don’t make big financial decisions. In general, you must maintain the economic status quo after a divorce is filed. If you make changes after you’ve filed, the court could find you in contempt. Also, making changes prematurely on your own could impact the final allocation of assets by the Court. Before making any significant financial moves, talk them over with your lawyer.
Watch your spending. The court will not look favorably on a spouse that intentionally drains an account, whether in anticipation of or after a filing. Further, to the extent circumstances require, you should both continue using your accounts as usual during the divorce. If you think your spouse will try to abuse your joint accounts, speak with your attorney about getting a restraining order or other Court assistance so that you will have adequate resources available to you until the divorce is final.
If seeking a divorce is an issue for you, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Our experienced family law attorneys will work tirelessly to reach a favorable outcome on your behalf. Contact us online or call 317-269-3500 to schedule a consultation regarding your needs.