It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married a few years or several decades.
Where there is some length of history there is some history of co-dependence.
Sorting through all the financial features of your current situation is only one element of the divorce or dissolution process. It doesn’t matter if the financial features of your situation are minimal or involve splitting extensive assets. Once the break is complete, the two of you are on your own.
That’s why it’s better to ask, “What steps should I take now to be sure I’m set to go solo?” To provide an answer, here are some tips many financial advisers recommend.
Reassess your budget. Regardless of how the division of property goes, your revenue stream is going to be different. Chances are good that you’ve been living on two incomes up to this point. Now it will be one. What can you really afford? If the house you shared isn’t something you’d buy on your income alone, it might be wise to sell it and split of proceeds.
Know the score. Your credit score, that is. Even though you were married you each had your own rating. If you didn’t have your own credit cards your score might be suffering. Learn what your score is in the dissolution planning phase and develop strategies, such as paying off bills or closing out shared accounts, so credit scores can be repaired if need be.
Look to the future. We are nearly all on the hook for our own retirement these days. When you were married you probably worked a plan together for your joint retirement. In divorce, those assets typically get split as part of the division of property. How that takes place carries tax implications, so beware. And don’t forget, if you were filing tax returns jointly during marriage, you will be filing them separately now.
Check your insurance needs. Beneficiaries of policies are bound to change. Specific needs may be greater or lesser depending on your circumstances. Be sure you know what your obligations are and that you and those you want protected are covered appropriately.
To learn more, it’s always wise to contact an experienced attorney.
Source: The Washington Post, “5 ways to keep a divorce from being needlessly expensive,” Jonnelle Marte, Oct. 31, 2014