If you and your spouse split up because of irreconcilable differences and financial issues, there’s a good chance that you should consider hiring a good divorce lawyer instead of trying to go it alone. However, if you feel like you can handle some aspects of the divorce alone, here are some things that you need to know about how to handle finances after separating from your spouse.
Divide Your Joint Accounts
One of the first things you should do is to divide up all of the accounts you and your spouse had together. Some of these can include bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, or even credit cards. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to determine who should get what, so you may want to let a neutral third party help you come up with the fair division of these assets.
Divide Your Individual Accounts Next
After dividing up your joint accounts, it’s time to divide up all of your individual accounts. Even if you and your spouse paid for some of these bills together, each one is now half yours and half your spouse’s. For example, if you pay for the mortgage and your spouse pays for all of the utilities, after splitting up, each of these bills is now only 1/2 yours and 1/2 your spouse’s.
Make Sure You Have Emergency Funds
Since it can get difficult to separate your credit scores after getting a divorce, you should make sure that you have at least 6 months of emergency funds saved up in case something happens unexpectedly. That way, if either one of you starts having financial problems, you can cover all of your expenses until you get back on your feet.
Create A New Budget
Once you have divided up all of the accounts that you had, you need to create a new budget. Since your spending patterns have probably changed slightly since splitting up, it’s important that you work with the numbers and make sure they reflect your current situation. Sometimes, it may be helpful to talk to family members or friends for help when creating this budget.
Divide Up The Debt
If your spouse was involved with any of the debt that you accumulated after separating, it’s time to figure out how this debt will be handled. Sometimes, you may want to make them responsible for their share of the debt (or vice versa). However, if one of you has more income than the other or your credit scores are significantly different, it may be best to have them take responsibility for all of the debt.
Protect Yourself Financially
Even though a divorce lawyer can’t help you with this last step, separating from your spouse is a good time to make sure that your financial house is in order. Things like getting life insurance or making sure that your investments are in order can help you protect yourself just in case the unthinkable happens.
If you handle finances the right way after separating from your spouse, it can be done without too much hassle. However, if you try to do this on your own and aren’t sure what to do, make sure that you contact a good divorce lawyer for assistance. No matter what, when you’re going through a divorce, it’s important that you keep your emotions out of any financial decisions that need to be made. If you feel like one of these steps is being handled poorly or not at all, it may be time to talk with a divorce lawyer for advice.