If you’ve been divorced, you know how devastating it can be – emotionally and financially. Below are some suggestions on how you can begin putting your life back together.
One of the first things you need to do is to establish your own, separate credit. Be sure any joint cards have been canceled with debts paid in full. If you think you’re headed for divorce and have a lot of debt between the two of you, it might make sense to file for bankruptcy before starting a legal divorce proceeding. Filing bankruptcy first can simplify the divorce by clearing out some of your debt. This can make it easier to negotiate how the remaining debts should be divided, and protect you from your soon-to-be-ex’s bankruptcy filing down the road. While you could file individually at any time, you and your spouse might want to consider filing a joint bankruptcy before the divorce. Not only will this make the final division of any remaining debts even easier, but filing a joint bankruptcy is cheaper than filing two separate ones.
You will need to establish a realistic budget based on your new income (along with any spousal or child support) and expenses. Make sure to continue to invest in your future. Even with a tight budget, try to allocate something to your retirement fund even if it is only $100/month. Be realistic – paying the mortgage, property taxes, homeowners insurance and maintenance costs on your home may not be possible on just one income.
You have to be prepared to make difficult, but necessary decisions. Make sure all assets awarded in the divorce are transferred to your name. If you’re receiving alimony or child support payments, make sure the paying parent has a life insurance policy that will pay you and the kids in the event of his or her death. Also, be sure to change your beneficiary designations. Update your will and health-care directives, and name a fiduciary for any assets that you leave to your minor children. Review all insurance coverage. Make sure the home and auto policies are in your name, and review the policy limits.
These are just a couple of things to consider when you are contemplating a divorce. If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney for a consultation.