You don't have to go through a divorce to know that the process of ending your marriage and starting over as a single person is emotionally exhausting. But you may not realize how financially trying it can be until you're in the thick of it. Texans who have been down this road learn a lot of things along the way, sometimes the hard way. But you can head off a lot of potential problems by being prepared.
One of the first things you'll want to do is start gathering up your financial records: bank accounts, credit card statements, paperwork on your investments and any loans you might have. Some of these may be joint accounts with your spouse; others might be yours alone. Pulling these documents will not only help the attorney begin working on your case, but they can help you take stock of your financial picture and start thinking about how it will change.
It's also a good idea to get a copy of your credit report. And be sure to keep making those credit card and loan payments. Because you may be applying for new credit cards in your own name to replace any joint accounts you have with your spouse, you'll want as sparkling a credit rating as possible. Bear in mind, too, that even if your divorce decree dictates that your spouse pay off the balance of your joint accounts, creditors are still allowed to come after you if those payments aren't made.
Perhaps the biggest financial decision you'll make is what to do with the family home. If both you and your spouse are listed on the mortgage, you'll need to decide whether one of you will keep living there or if it makes more sense to sell. This might depend on the state of the housing market and whether you have children; many couples opt to have the parent who's awarded primary custody keep the home for the sake of stability. But you'll need to ensure that whoever that parent is can afford the mortgage payments, and if necessary, take on more debt to buy the other parent out.
Most people don't want to think about money as they suffer through a painful breakup of their marriage, but taking inventory of your finances can ward off more fighting and more debt, allowing the divorce to go more smoothly.
Source: Coloradoan.com, "Gilbert: Getting finances right after divorce takes work," Sara Gilbert, Jan. 25, 2013
- Our firm handles divorce and other family law matters for Texas residents. To learn more about our practice, visit our Lewisville, Texas, divorce page.