Considering Divorce? Take These 4 Steps to Plan Financially

Neither of you has filed for divorce yet, but the writing is on the wall. You’re not happy, she’s not happy, and a marriage that started out as a loving partnership has been deteriorating for a while. It’s just a matter of time: if a process server showed up at your corner office with a summons and petition for divorce, you’d be embarrassed, but not surprised.

When you know that divorce is inevitable, you have to prepare for being single again. This includes ensuring that you have the financial resources needed to start over while honoring obligations like child support. The four steps below can put you in the best position to start over after the divorce decree is issued.

1. Understand Your Assets and Liabilities

Start by understanding what you have to work with. Anything that belongs to the marital estate is subject to equitable distribution, meaning that if you and your spouse can’t agree on how everything will be divided, a judge will attempt to split it as fairly as possible. 

While you can’t predict exactly how the court will distribute everything, you should understand the overall value of all property and financial holdings. Make an appointment with your accountant to review both separate and marital assets and debts. Before going to their office, remember to collect any bills, bank statements, pay stubs, and other financial documents that have accumulated since the last consultation.

2. Pull Your Credit Report

Your credit report is an excellent resource for verifying your financial wellbeing. A good credit score will give you access to the resources you need to start over, such as a condo (if you intend to leave the marital home) and new credit products like cards and personal loans. 

Carefully review every tradeline for anything you don’t recognize, such as a credit card that you never signed up for, and investigate anything unusual. Whether your spouse obtained the card without your consent or you are a victim of identity theft, you don’t want to be responsible for debt that isn’t yours, especially now.

3. See Your Financial Advisor

The first professional you should connect with is an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney. The second is your financial advisor. It’s better to meet with them before or, at the very least, during the divorce process, so you’re ready to meet the financial demands that your post-divorce life will impose on you. They can help you prepare a suitable budget and recommend other ways to create a solid financial cushion.

4. Hold Off on Big Financial Decisions

Don’t make any financial decisions when you know that divorce is imminent. That sleek yacht you saw at the Greater Knoxville Boat Show will become marital property if you buy it now. You should also let changes to retirement accounts, Wills, life insurance, and other instruments be handled during the settlement negotiations, or the judge could make decisions that favor your spouse.

Contact a Tennessee Divorce Attorney

Are you considering divorce and wondering how to protect your assets while honoring your family obligations? At Piper McCracken PLLC, we have the legal skill, business acumen, and financial knowledge to successfully resolve your divorce and secure your future. To meet with one of our highly experienced divorce attorneys, contact us today.

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Piper McCracken, PLLC

Our firm began as a belief that things could be done better—in both the practice of law and in the working lives of lawyers. Founding partners, Heather Piper and Joanna McCracken, met while working as attorneys at a large, regional firm. They honed their skills as litigators on a broad range of cases from medical malpractice and product liability, to real estate and entertainment law. But it was their mutual desire to help people on a more personal level that inspired them to begin a family law practice.

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