If you have already made the decision to end your marriage, you have made one of the toughest decisions. Of course, you may not really know where to go from here. Should you rush out and meet with a divorce attorney the same day? Should you make preparations before you start the paperwork?
Like with many things in life, the answer is: it depends.
Your specific circumstances will help you decide how to move forward in a divorce. No matter what the particulars are, there is one thing that always requires consideration in a divorce and that is your financial health.
Your joint finances are going to play a significant part in your divorce and your ability to start over. This is why it is important to take some financial steps in order to prepare for your divorce.
Assemble a team
If you and your husband have extensive financial holdings in the St. Louis area, such as real estate, business investments, retirement accounts or other assets, it will be a good idea to assemble a team of financial professionals.
This could include an accountant, a tax planner, a financial planner and maybe an actuary to help you determine the value of your holdings. These advisors will be able to assist you when it comes to negotiating a fair settlement.
You should also take the time to organize your financial documents. If you do not know where to start, you can begin by examining past tax returns. For example, last year's tax return should include all of your sources of income.
You can include everything from W-2 wages to rental income, interest and dividend income, and other sources that you may not have been aware of.
Once you have a list of these income sources, gather up the supporting documentation. You will also need to obtain copies of bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and car payments. In other words, organize financial documents that list the details of all your income, expenses, assets and debts.
Create a budget
Once you have a full picture of your financial health, it is time to start planning for the future. Take a realistic look at what you need to continue living in a reasonable lifestyle and make a budget. If you have a clear picture of what you will need both during the divorce process and after, you will be in a better position to negotiate a fair divorce settlement.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to organize your finances and have a solid understanding of what will be on the table during the settlement process. The above tips can help you obtain this understanding so that you can be ready to start your new life.