Despite the emotional upheaval, there may be things you are looking forward to when your divorce process is over. Maybe you plan to change your name, take a trip or finish your degree. Perhaps you have already set aside some time to thoroughly examine your finances and create a plan for your future.
Unfortunately, waiting until your divorce is finalized to begin thinking about your financial situation may set you up for years of struggle. There are many things you can do now, and financial advisors recommend completing some of them as soon as possible to avoid negative consequences.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable
You and your spouse may have parted amicably, but if you did not, separating your finances is crucial for your own protection. As long as your finances are intertwined, your spouse may have control over you that could be detrimental. Your divorce settlement may stipulate such things as selling the family home and splitting the proceeds, so it is important that you follow through with that as soon as possible.
Other critical details you should see to right away include the following:
- Consult with a professional about updating the beneficiaries on your estate planning documents, insurance policies and investments.
- Cancel any credit cards or close any credit accounts you held jointly with your spouse.
- Begin to build your own credit separate from your spouse by opening a line of credit in your own name.
- Open your own checking and savings accounts, preferably in a bank separate from your ex-spouse’s.
- Find your own health insurance if your spouse’s policy covered you.
- Create a reasonable budget that will allow you to make your share of the settlement last as long as you can.
- Seek advice about arranging an efficient and trustworthy method of obtaining any child or spousal support payments the court may order.
You may also find it facilitates the realization of your divorce settlement if you and your spouse create an action plan that includes consequences if either of you default on your obligations. When the settlement is signed, you may find it helpful to have legal assistance to ensure your ex-spouse adheres to its terms. For example, if dividing retirement accounts, it will be important to understand any penalties or tax implications that may be involved. Your Georgia attorney can assist you in these and other matters.