It’s not pleasant to think of the possibility of your marriage breaking up. However, in some cases it’s a reality. If you are heading for divorce, it’s important that you take a step back and make some practical financial moves.
If you are concerned about a divorce, you need to pay attention. Understand the finances in your family. If you haven’t been part of budgeting decisions, and if you have no idea about your household cash flow, or what’s happening with taxes or accounts, you need to start paying attention. Know what your assets are, and know what bills (and debt) are part of the equation.
Set Aside Some Money
You also need to have some of your “own” money. You should have some money that your significant other doesn’t have access to. A joint account can be drained quickly (and you shouldn’t be the one clearing out the account, since it can cause problems later during the divorce). But, just in case you are concerned about what your partner is doing, you can start setting aside money on your own. You can save cash in a secure place in your home, or you can open an account in your own name, and add money. This can help you pay attorney fees, and it’s money that your partner can’t immediately access.
You don’t want to hide assets during the divorce proceedings, but you do want to have some money that you can access if you need to.
See a Financial Professional
You know that you probably ought to hire a lawyer (or, in the case of a “kitchen table” divorce, at least see a mediator). However, you also need to see a financial professional. Find a good financial adviser that can help you work out what your next steps should be. You can get help putting together a road map to a more secure financial future.
Divorce changes your finances, no matter who you are. A financial professional can provide you with ideas for what to do with your money as you work off a new budget, and as you decide what to do after the divorce settlement.
Review Your Marketable Skills
You need marketable skills to make it after a divorce. Even if you qualify for some help with child support and with alimony, you might need to go back to work to make ends meet. Consider what your strengths are, and figure out how you might be able to support yourself and any dependents that you have.
Prepare yourself to enter the workforce by brushing up your resume and networking. You can also look into what it takes to run a home business, and earn money on the side. Take a look at your situation, and what you can do to improve. You might be surprised at how you can make money after divorce. But you need to look into it, and be prepared.
Divorce is rarely enjoyable. However, you need to be ready for the outcome, and a big part of that is figuring out your finances.
Tom Drake writes for Financial Highway and MapleMoney. Whenever he’s not working on his online endeavors, he’s either doing his “real job” as a financial analyst or spending time with his two boys.