The decision has been made. The final blow has been thrown. Divorce is happening. Now what? What should I do first? Where do I go for help? There are so many questions now and to come that will need solid answers. The first and most important step is to pick a trusted advisor. This can be a personal advisor, but you will also need a financial advisor. It could be the same person, but just know that both personal and financial direction is needed, which could come from the same or different people. The costs of a divorce can be significant and you will need guidance.
Next you will need to select a lawyer. Again, a trusted person is key and you should get someone who has been recommended to you by a trusted friend or advisor. It is strongly suggested by many to not go through the divorce process trying to be your own lawyer. You are sure to miss significant details that could make a huge difference in the outcome. For the sake of your sanity, hire a trusted lawyer.
Here are some key financial things that you need to take care of as soon as possible in the divorce process.
- Establish credit in your name.
- List out all the assets you can think of, and how those assets are labeled. Whose name are they in? Think of accounts, personal property, timeshares, insurance policies, vehicles, etc.
- Notify banks where you hold joint accounts of the divorce.
- Close out all joint charge accounts so you aren’t held responsible for your spouse’s choices.
- Consider a savings account to prepare for the time when the spouse will no longer to contributing to the finances.
- Make sure you understand the true costs of operating the household.
You must file a petition for the divorce, and have the papers served to the other party. When children are involved there are temporary support orders that take place before the finalization, since it may take a while to get there. Then the negotiations begin. Of course the more the two parties can agree on things, the easier the divorce process is. If there is a lot of dissension the process can drag out and be that much more painful. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of having trusted advisors and people in your life to guide you through these often murky waters.