As you weigh the decision of whether or not to move forward with a divorce, one of your considerations needs to be whether you are financially prepared to do so.
Our Birmingham divorce lawyers know that in some cases (primarily those involving abuse) this will be a secondary concern. However in most other cases, holding off on filing or telling your soon-to-be-ex doesn't mean you aren't going to go through with starting a new life. It just means you are working to smartly plan your exit strategy.
What you shouldn't hold off on is meeting with your attorney. He or she can help you decide what sorts of things you need to have in order, and which you would be fine to put on the back burner.
It doesn't hurt to meet with a financial adviser around the same time you are consulting with your divorce attorney. In some cases, you may need to try to do this without your spouse knowing about it — simply getting yourself up to speed on your personal and joint finances will help you to know exactly how best to proceed.
If you don't already know what your assets are, it can be difficult for you to help your attorney ascertain what you and your children may be entitled to in the divorce settlement. So to start with, gather up whatever information you can find on your bank accounts, credit card statements or other accounts that you hold jointly with your spouse.
You'll also want to get copies of your joint tax returns, as well as the monthly bills. Again, not only is this going to help you in figuring out what you are entitled to, but it will give you a better sense of what your new financial reality will look like – and how you should prepare.
In almost every case, that's going to mean working to set aside an emergency fund. Having a few thousand dollars saved up can help put you in a position to start life anew.
All of this is often compounded by the fact that once you actually file for the separation and get the ball rolling on everything, your financial concerns take a backseat to the emotional turmoil. This can result in some unwise money choices and even a certain amount of "feel-good" spending.
That's not what we want to see. In the long-run, a divorce is supposed to help you reach a healthier place in life and cut ties to people and lifestyle habits that are bringing you down. If your finances are in a rut, this can be a tougher goal to reach.
Proper planning ahead of time can be instrumental in reducing that possibility.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Before divorce, you should get financially prepared, Sept. 12, 2012, By Hadley Malcolm, USA Today