Getting Ready to File for Divorce? The Financial Ins and Outs of Setting Yourself Up For The Future
If you are getting ready to file for divorce in Georgia, setting yourself up for financial stability and success should rank high on your list of priorities. A divorce involves some of the most important financial decisions you will go through in your lifetime, and many of these decisions cannot be changed in the future. There will be a laundry list of things you need to do before you can really begin the process. At Buckhead Family Law, we know getting your “divorce ducks in a row” can sometimes feel like a full-time job. You have to juggle dozens of things simultaneously, including making sure you are taking care of yourself, your children, your investments, and your future. At the same time, many people don’t want to destroy their partners, but they do want to financially set themselves up for the future. Although it’s difficult to table emotions that can sometimes cloud your judgement, divorce is usually best handled like a business transaction, where you divide assets and debt and find parity in the dissolution of the marriage for the benefit of both parties.
If you want to give yourself the best chance to come out the other side with minimal damage and financial stability, you should start by taking these 7 steps:
1. Be Confident This Is What You Want to Do
We’ll be honest – divorce is traumatic even in the most amicable of situations. Especially if children are involved, you need to be 100% certain that this is what you want – as there is no turning back or do-overs. While you can come back from this, it is a mental hardship that will take a long time to get over – and this is just for the two of you. Add in your children, the in-laws, friends, coworkers, and anyone else, and it gets messy. Before you begin dividing assets and financially disentangling from one another, be confident divorce is your best option.
2. Get (And Stay) Financially Organized
Divorce is complicated, so you will need to have information readily available or attainable because you will need to make hundreds of small but significant decisions that will impact both you and your family. You need to be extremely organized when it comes to your finances, including assets and debts. For some families, it is productive to work together with your spouse to ensure that you have a complete list of your debts, assets, property, financial statements, tax returns, bank accounts, credit card accounts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, car loans, retirement accounts, and anything else that seems applicable. Consult with an Atlanta divorce attorney experienced with high asset divorces to make sure thought that no financial stone is left unturned. You must be as thorough as possible, and sometimes this requires formal discovery into the assets.
3. Check Your Credit Score
Credit will be a key factor in setting yourself up for a stable financial future following your divorce, so you must protect it. Moving forward, your credit score will help you rent a new place, obtain a mortgage, get your own credit cards, and more. If you are going to need to apply for these things, you will need to have a good, healthy credit score of your own. If you know your credit is somewhat low, begin trying to repair it as soon as possible. This may also give you insight into assets and liabilities about which you may not have been fully informed by your spouse. You can obtain one free credit report every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com, without signing up, creating an account, or entering your credit card information.
4. Understand Your Debts
Especially if you weren’t the breadwinner or the financially savvy half of your marriage, you need to start understanding the debts that the two of you hold. From credit cards, to mortgages, to car loans, to anything you owe the banks, you absolutely need to understand what you need to pay and how to split up that debt fairly. Debt doesn’t just vanish into thin air during a divorce – it goes with one party of another, just like your car or the family dog.
5. Pick Your Battles: Determine What Is Worth Fighting For (And What Isn’t)
To say divorce isn’t easy would be an understatement. It’s a “give and take” battle, and you are going to have to concede some things. So, how do you handle this? It’s best to sit down and really think about the things you want to fight for. Maybe it’s the business that has been in your family forever or maybe it’s that vintage car that’s in both of your names. It’s best to prioritize the assets you want to fight for, know your finances and what you can afford, and come to grips with the reality that you will have to give some things up.
6. Know Your Financial Limits: What Can You Afford?
Pushing emotions to the side and being financially smart in your divorce can truly “make or break” your outcome. Part of determining what to fight for means thinking about what you can realistically afford. For instance, despite all the memories made there, it doesn’t make financial sense to fight for your home if you won’t be able to keep up with the payments. If you cannot afford certain living expenses, it probably makes sense to fight for more money instead of possessions. Be smart and assess your situation thoroughly to fight for what benefits you most.
7. Work with a Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation
Even if you both want out and your divorce seems like it will be completely amicable, you need to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can handle high asset or complex financial circumstances and will have your best interests at heart and fight for the things you want most. Your ex-spouse could turn on a dime, and having a knowledgeable divorce lawyer will ensure your rights and assets remain protected.
Getting Ready to File for Divorce in Georgia?
While you are getting ready to file for divorce in Georgia, you need to be prepared and ensure that you check every box. Luckily, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. At Buckhead Family Law, our experienced legal team can help you build a strong case that works best for you and your family. The lawyers at Buckhead Family Law are here to assist you and help this be a positive turning point for your family. Schedule a consultation by calling at 404-600-1403.