When going through a divorce, many important decisions must be made quickly. Sorting out living arrangements, child custody matters and who gets to keep the family dog are all difficult and emotionally-charged decisions that must be agreed upon. Unfortunately, many couples get bogged down in the emotional turmoil of divorce and often fail to realize the important impact of making key financial decisions quickly.
Californians facing divorce should consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help guide them through the overwhelming process of making important personal financial decisions. When divorcing, it's crucial to address the following as quickly as possible:
• Estimate your monthly income: Have your divorce attorney help estimate monthly living expenses as well as any potential child support or spousal support.
• Set up a separate bank account: Close our any joint accounts and ensure funds are being directly deposited into your new account.
• Open a credit card in your name: Close out joint credit card accounts and contact credit card companies to freeze any mystery charges.
• Request an updated credit report: Take note of any discrepancies or unknown charges.
• Health insurance: If you were previously on your spouse's health insurance, you'll need to check eligibility requirements for continued coverage and may need to apply for COBRA.
• Retirement accounts: Make beneficiary changes and, depending on individual circumstances, steps may need to be taken to secure each party's financial right to an existing pension or Roth IRA.
Divorce can be an extremely stressful and difficult time, leaving many divorcees feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. With the help of a legal professional, however, individuals going through a divorce can find peace of mind knowing their financial future will be protected.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Facing the financial facts of getting a divorce," Andrew Menachem, Mar. 10, 2012