Most of the time, a divorce doesn’t come as a surprise to either of the parties involved. Often, they’ve both been waiting for the other person to make the first move.
If you sense that divorce is coming in your future, don’t simply wait on your spouse to make the announcement that the marriage is over. There are a few specific financial concerns you need to address right away.
1. You need an inventory
It’s very easy to forget about an investment or a piece of property that’s undeveloped (for now) when you’re in a high-asset marriage. Getting an inventory together of your assets can make the entire division of property go much more smoothly.
2. You need your financial papers
It’s time to start making copies of the family tax returns, pay stubs, invoices, receipts, bank statements, credit card bills, property deeds and anything else that might be important.
It’s always smartest to make your copies and leave them with a friend or relative for safe-keeping. That way, you don’t have to worry about your copies mysteriously vanishing.
3. Get a handle on your bills
If you’re accustomed to writing out the bills or paying for personal items without thinking much about the cost, it’s time to take stock of your actual monthly expenses. You need to plan to modify your lifestyle and cut your expenses in order to be on a solid financial footing after your divorce.
4. Get your own bank account
You have no way of knowing if you’re suddenly going to need access to an account that isn’t jointly owned with your spouse. Open checking and savings accounts and see if you can get a credit card from your new bank as well. It’s better if you use a bank other than the one you share with your spouse — in order to prevent run-ins and confusion.