To be certain, we can't downplay the emotional turmoil in the midst of a divorce.
But our Birmingham divorce attorneys know there is something else that can also serve a significant stressor – before, during and after the break-up. It's the money.
Finances might even be at the root of why you're splitting in the first place.
But what will that next phase look like? As our legal team has experience in handling both divorce cases and bankruptcy cases, we know that spousal separation can often lead to one half suffering grave financial consequences.
The good news is that planning with an experienced divorce lawyer before the paperwork is finalized can help you protect your future stability as you embark on the next chapter. And then once you're there, of course, it will be up to you to keep your finances afloat.
Here are some things to keep in mind to help you along the way:
Get your house in order. You may have already moved or are just getting used to living in your home without your spouse. But even with a divorce decree, there is more you'll need to do to make that clean break official with your banks, creditors and the government. If you changed your name, make sure you get a new Social Security card, driver's license, credit card and passport. You'll also need to give notice to your insurance companies, your bank, any utility firms, credit card companies, the motor vehicle department, and your child's school regarding any address or name changes. You'll also want to get the titles changed on any vehicles, homes and make any necessary changes to your 401(k), pensions, IRA accounts, and lending institutions. To break this down step-by-step, consider the following:
- Get several copies of your certified divorce decree. You'll need that.
- Close any joint credit accounts you shared with your ex.
- Take your ex's name off any remaining accounts, like employer records, insurance policies, post office records, bank, brokerage and investment accounts, etc.
- Do the homework on your health insurance options. If you need COBRA, get that immediately.
- If you have a divorce decree that includes a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, make sure a copy of that is forwarded to any appropriate brokerages, banks, 401(k) administrators, pension planners, etc.
- Open a new bank account, and consider setting up a direct deposit or income withholding if you expect to pay or receive child or spousal support.
- Disinherit your ex from any wills, trusts or medical directives.
- Figure out a way to track all of the child support and spousal support payments you've made or received and any medical expenses that might be included also.
After you sort through all this, the next thing you need to do is establish some good credit that is solely in your name. This is key because without it, you'll have a tough time getting a future loan. Obtain a copy of your credit report and make it a point to correct any mistakes. If you already have a credit card in your own name, begin using it regularly and pay off the balance each month.
It can be tougher for previous stay-at-home spouses, but recent changes have been proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The next thing you want to do is figure out a comprehensive financial plan moving forward. Determine your day-to-day expenses, your regular income, etc., and plan a budget based on that, versus how much you also hope to save.
And finally, don't forget to save. It's key to ensuring that if life throws you another unexpected curve ball, you'll be able to absorb the blow.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Divorce finance: How to get your finances in order post-split, May 18, 2013, By Jeff Landers, Huffington Post