Planning for a divorce is always important, especially when it comes to your finances. It is best to begin the process of planning for your divorce financially before you even file (or your spouse files). However, there are still ways you can ensure that you are prepared for the financial realities of divorce even after the petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed, and you are living separately and apart from your spouse. Indeed, divorce can create significant complexities when it comes to finances, and it is essential to plan ahead.
The following are some tips from a NerdWallet article to help you get ready for the financial issues and realities of your divorce.
Obtain Financial Documentation
It is extremely important to gather financial documentation before you separate and file for divorce. While you may be able to obtain much of this information afterward, it is typically easiest to ensure that you can get copies of all the documents you need when you are still sharing a home with your spouse. You should make copies of all of the following:
- Bank account statements from the last year;
- Retirement account statements;
- Mortgage loan information;
- Auto loan statements;
- Credit card statements from the last year;
- Pay stubs over the last year;
- Income tax returns; and
- Detailed information about any assets or debts acquired during the marriage.
Gathering financial information can be extremely helpful when it is time to divide marital property. Financial information like the items mentioned above will be necessary for the court to determine what an equitable distribution of marital property will look like. Obtaining copies of these materials can also help to ensure that neither spouse attempts to hide assets.
Track Your Expenses and Plan for Future Expenses
Whether you are still living with your spouse and only considering filing for divorce at this point, or you are currently separated from your spouse, you can easily begin the process of tracking your expenses to come up with a budget you will need. You should keep careful track of family income and household expenses. You should also, where possible, plan for any future expenses. This means maintaining detailed notes about bills, food costs, home maintenance, clothing, entertainment, transportation, childcare, and any other expenses. If you know an expensive home appliance will need to be replaced in the near future, include that on your list of future expenses. Likewise, if you know your family takes a vacation every summer, you can include those costs in your planned future expenses.
Of course, this kind of tracking is more beneficial the earlier you start doing it. By knowing precisely what your monthly household expenses are likely to be, your attorney can take those expenses and your monthly income into account when negotiating a property settlement and determining whether you should seek spousal maintenance.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Chicago
If you need assistance planning for your divorce or beginning the process, an experienced divorce attorney in Chicago can help. Contact Arami Law, Inc. for more information about our services.