Home Divorce Pre-Divorce Preparation: Finance Checklist

Pre-Divorce Preparation: Finance Checklist

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Divorce is never an easy thing. Typically, people are more inclined to irrational thinking and behaviour. Not every divorce is going to be messy or complicated, but it’s probably wise to prepare for the unexpected and hope for the best. Even seemingly amicable splits can turn out to be expensive and emotion can turn any situation sour in a moment.

There are obviously many things to consider when thinking about divorce. It’s likely that as a couple, your lives have become intertwined in many areas and some of this can be tricky to unravel, especially where money and kids are concerned.

It’s vital to know exactly what you’re dealing with and create a plan based on as many facts as possible. Guesswork really isn’t going to cut it in a situation like this, so be prepared to get some cold, hard truths to base your decisions on. Be realistic with your expectations, but also with the true costs of the process.

What do I need to know?

  • What are the approximate legal costs
  • What will it cost to find alternative accommodation
  • Who is staying in the property
  • What happens to the property because of the divorce
  • Are there any loans or mortgages to deal with
  • What happens to the goods and chattels you jointly own
  • Will your transport needs change post-divorce

That’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but it should give you an idea about the level of information you’ll need to take into account before any official proceedings are started. The more information you have, the easier it’s going to be to put your case forward when things go legal. 

An amicable arrangement is always the best option but realistically, it’s more likely that conflict will arise at some point. Being prepared for this in terms of knowing the financial implications of any scenario, will enable you to make fact-based decisions, not just guesses. 

Is a lawyer necessary?

If you know that your particular divorce is going to be 100% amicable, you could argue that legal representation isn’t required, but even in the most cordial situations, it’s advisable to seek professional legal counsel. The more straightforward a case is, the lower the legal fees should be, which is another great reason to work things out in a grown-up fashion before the lawyers get involved.

As a basic guide, lawyers tend to charge by the hour, so the longer they have to work on your case, the greater the final bill will be. Long, drawn-out, acrimonious cases should be avoided at all costs because the only real winners are the lawyers.

Who gets the house?

There are not set rules for the financial carve-up that happens during a divorce, but a house can be a very contentious part of the process. If kids are involved, they’ll need stability and leaving them in a place they know will help them through the divorce. It’s not always possible, but most parents would do the best thing for their kids and if they’re top of your list, this will give you a clear insight into what you’re prepared to concede on to do right by them.

You could enter into an agreement that sees the house sold once the kids are grown, but like everything else, it’s up to you and your spouse to use common sense around sensitive issues. You may want to hold your ground and fight, but who else is impacted by your decisions? 

What happens afterward?

Once you’re completely and legally out of a marriage, you’ll hopefully start to put your life back together as things begin to settle down, but you can still get a reminder of your past from time-to-time. Financial institutions may still write to your ex or a forgotten bill may surface that needs either dealing with or passing on.

Your credit may have been affected because of your previous life or even by association with your ex, but knowing what you’re dealing with is key here too. If you get a credit check, you’ll see what information is being held about you. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can start the process of repairing your credit and getting back on track.

In conclusion, a divorce is a very unpredictable situation. Emotions are at peak and people don’t always think rationally at times like that, so you should be well prepared before things go legal. Know what the financial implications are and act accordingly. Strive for the most amicable divorce possible, but definitely plan as if it’s not going to be easy. Above all, be an adult and try not to let ego rule your head. 

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