You definitely want to be careful with planning your finances for the divorce process. Mistakes made in this area could prove to be rather costly. There’s no question that divorce is a very difficult process, both emotionally and financially. Sorting out assets and liabilities is often a messy affair, and you’ll need to get your finances straightened out to prepare for the long road ahead. The experts from Divorce Options San Diego—experienced professionals who provide premier San Diego divorce mediation services to couples seeking creative divorce solutions—offer this checklist for planning your finances in a divorce and avoiding some common mistakes.
Take “Free” Advice with a Grain of Salt
Be careful with the advice you get from friends, family, or the Internet. Divorce law varies from state to state, so if you’re looking to make any financial decisions before a divorce, it’s best to confer with an attorney licensed in your state.
Seek Help from Other Professionals
Besides an attorney, a financial expert such as a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) can provide you with expert advice with respect to your present and future financial situation. CDFAs are more commonplace these days, since they can help you determine whether a divorce is financially viable, whether your situation warrants a divorce settlement, and, if so, the optimal way to structure it. An accountant is another reliable resource for your financial decisions.
Get Organized with Your Financial Documentation
Gather your financial records together and keep them organized in chronological order. These documents tell the story of your marriage’s finances. While this task is exhausting and may feel endless, the sooner you get started on it, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Some of the most important documents are statements from your checking and savings accounts, credit card accounts, investment and retirement accounts, loan ledgers for all loans (e.g., mortgage, vehicle, personal, etc.), current pay stubs, income tax returns for the past three years, and a list of your assets and debts before marriage and those you acquired after marriage.
Track Your Expenses
By keeping track of your household expenses, you’ll be better able to create a budget and build your case for the inevitable division of your assets and debts. Completing this task will also assist you in regard to spousal or child support issues. You’ll want to maintain a record of past months and years for all household bills, such as food, clothing, home maintenance, vacations, transportation, entertainment, and any other expenses you’ve paid, as this will provide you with information to be able to intelligently project your future expenses.
Don’t Make Any Large Financial Adjustments
The court will determine your financial situation and make any necessary changes. As your finances will get sorted out in the divorce proceedings, it behooves you to wait accordingly. Don’t be tempted to make any changes without the court’s permission, as you may do more harm than good and possibly get charged with criminal contempt. Consult with your attorney about any particular move you may be contemplating.
Conserve Spending and Saving
Separating marital finances is tricky, so the less you spend and save, the easier it will be for the court to divide your and your spouse’s assets and liabilities. Maintaining financial transparency will also allow you and your spouse to live comfortably and amicably throughout the divorce proceedings.
Dealing with finances during a divorce isn’t easy, especially if attorneys are major actors in the proceedings. If you want an alternative to hiring lawyers and going through a drawn-out, acrimonious process, turn to Divorce Options San Diego. As San Diego divorce mediators, we offer a one-stop shop approach for couples who are looking for a way to dissolve their marriages amicably and with mutual respect. We can handle every aspect of your divorce for you, so there won’t be a need to hire expensive attorneys. To learn more about our revolutionary approach to divorce, give us a call today at (858) 281-2628.