Whether you’re thinking about filing for divorce or you’re already working on developing a parenting plan, one thing’s for certain: You need to have a financial plan in place. Most people who divorce in Stockton (and everywhere else, for that matter) notice a substantial change in circumstances, and that’s true whether they were part of a one-income or two-income household.
5 Divorce Finance Tips to Ensure You’re Prepared
While it’s always helpful to ask friends and family for divorce finance tips and advice, your best bet may be to turn to a professional if you’re not sure how to prepare for your divorce. Your attorney can help you find a financial adviser if you feel you need one. However, most people—with a little forethought and planning—are able to transition smoothly.
Divorce Finance Tip #1: Separate Your Finances and Close Joint Accounts
Your attorney will be able to help you plan the timeline for your divorce, such as when you should move out of your marital home and handle other affairs. Before you do any of that, though, it’s a good idea to start separating your finances from your spouse’s and begin working toward financial independence.
For most people, a logical first step toward financial independence during divorce is to separate your joint accounts. If you can, close the accounts you shared; if you can’t close them or your spouse is unwilling to cooperate, see if you can remove your name from them. Do the same with joint credit card accounts.
Divorce Finance Tip #2: Open New Accounts Right Away
Open your own checking and savings accounts as soon as possible, and update your bank information with your employer to make sure your paychecks are deposited in the correct account.
You should never drain your spouse’s account or a joint account during divorce. Doing so can get you into serious hot water with the court.
Divorce Finance Tip #3: Change Your Will
Just to be on the safe side, remove your spouse from your will and make sure he or she doesn’t have any powers of attorney on your behalf. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse has the authority to make financial, healthcare, or end-of-life decisions for you, you’ll need to revoke that authority and give it to someone else.
Divorce Finance Tip #4: Replace Beneficiaries
If your spouse is listed as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy, your 401(k) or IRA, or anything else, replace him or her with someone else.
Divorce Finance Tip #5: Develop Your Own Credit
If you don’t already have lines of credit established in your name, now is probably the time to start some. Landlords and lenders often get your financial information from your credit report, and it can be difficult to find a place to rent, obtain a mortgage, or get a car loan if you don’t have credit that’s solely in your name.
What if You’re Not Working?
If you’re not currently working, talk to your attorney about spousal support and whether you should begin looking for a job. Spousal support can be temporary or permanent; typically, the judge’s support order is considered temporary when you’re still going through your divorce and becomes permanent once your divorce is final. (“Permanent spousal support” doesn’t mean it’s going to be paid forever. It simply means that the order from the judge is permanent, and the support order stays in effect until a certain amount of time has elapsed, the receiving spouse remarries, or another condition is met.)
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Divorce?
If you need to speak to an attorney who practices family law in Stockton, CA, we’d love to help you.
Call us at 209-910-9865 to discuss your situation. We’ll begin developing a strategy and, if necessary, work on the appropriate paperwork to file for spousal support during your divorce.