Divorce is an emotional roller coaster. You can help yourself feel more confident about your financial consequences by following these few steps, at whichever stage you find yourself:
Make a list of all accounts and balances -- Gather account statements, all insurance documentation, property titles, Mortgage Statements, Credit Card Statements, past Tax Returns, Passports, Birth Certificates, Online Account IDs and Passwords, etc. Remember, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it! Create a budget for your current lifestyle. You can’t determine what you need if you do not know how much your existing lifestyle costs. Ex. You don’t want to take the responsibilities of a house if you can’t afford the upkeep. In short, KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS!
Change all passwords for online account access (if Court allowed) - Explore all options to dividing assets and liabilities. Being flexible and creative can lead to some great outcomes. Review various ways to divide a 401k or Pension Plan, before making a choice. Tax consequences should always be considered. Ask about taxation of alimony vs. child support, pros and cons of lump-sum settlements. Make certain Life Insurance Policies are cross-owned and cover the full-life of the obligation.
Revise all wills, powers of attorney, and trust documents -- Review all beneficiary designations and make any necessary changes. Obtain a copy of your credit reports 30 days after the final judgement to ensure all joint accounts have been closed. Follow through with asset transfers.
Be kind, be firm, and be finished. Make choices that will minimize negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. The sooner you finalize your divorce and move forward the better.
Family law attorney James P. Sadler represents people involved in divorces, child custody disputes, and other family law matters in San Angelo and throughout West Texas. He advocates for his clients’ rights and interests both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. We invite you to contact Sadler Family Law online or at (325) 227-6738 to schedule a confidential office consultation.