Financial Issues to Consider in Divorce, Part Two

Seeking a divorce means more than just taking into consider what is next for you and your family from a relational standpoint. While raising children in two households and beginning to repair your own life after your marriage ends may be the most important goals of yours after a divorce, it is essential to consider what your financial outlook appears to be both during the divorce and in the time period immediately after a divorce. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a continuation of yesterday’s where we will discuss more tips and tricks to look into prior to actually filing for divorce.

Open your own bank account. What I’ve learned in handling divorce cases is that it is not a given that you and your spouse share a bank account. My wife and I do, but I suppose that we’re old school in that way. Regardless of whether or not you and your spouse do the same it is important for you to open up a new bank account prior to filing for divorce. Your paychecks can be sent there so your spouse cannot access them. Your spouse will not be able to hire an attorney using your paycheck as a potential retainer source either.

One thing I should note at this point is that the temporary orders or standing orders from the county in which you reside will likely bar you from spending large sums of money on non essentials during your divorce case. This means that unless something is a bill, a mortgage payment, related to your children or a cost associated with the divorce that you will not be able to spend money on it most likely. The rule applies to you and your spouse equally but it is something to be aware of.

Collect your income tax returns from the past few years. At the outset of your case it is likely that you will need to complete something called an inventory and appraisement. This form will detail your earnings and estimates of the value of the property in your possession. You will be summarizing what bills your family has and what you have left over at the end of the month in terms of money. In order to provide an accurate snapshot of your financial life you will need to have your tax returns handy.

It will also make sense to have your tax returns handy so that you can have an idea of what you may be on the hook for as far as child support/spousal support is concerned. If your spouse believes that you earn more than you actually do the only way to counteract those assumptions is to have your tax return handy to present during the discovery phase of your case.

Take photos of your household possessions and property. This is important for a couple reasons. First, if you are the spouse who will be leaving the family home to live elsewhere you will be at a severe disadvantage as far as taking inventory of the items to be divided in your divorce. So that you can remember any and all items that you believe are yours or your separate property take photos prior to leaving the house so that you can remember them with your attorney. You can only negotiate on the items that you remember.

Secondly, if there is any dispute with your spouse as to the location of any item your photos can help both sides recall where a particular piece of property was inside the home. If, for example, a item goes missing from the living room the day after you leave the home to move into your apartment it would make sense for your spouse to blame you for its disappearance. However, your photos may be able to show that the vase is actually in the closet collecting dust rather than in the spare bedroom like your spouse had thought.

Documents related to your business need to be made ready for your attorney. A great deal of strife in a divorce can center around a family business. How the business is to be valued is a hotly debated subject often times so having tax records, a list of inventory and your customer list can show just how profitable your business actually is in addition to other sources for value in the business. Other financial statements and bank account information can be helpful as well.

Look at your credit score and credit report. If you have not done so in a while make sure to pull a copy of your credit report to take a look at all of your active accounts and debts. It happens every so often that a person’s spouse has opened up credit cards, taken out loans or otherwise harmed their spouse’s credit in some way. Even if you don’t believe this to have taken place in your situation it is still a wise move to make.

The last thing you would want to do is to finalize your divorce without you knowing, or your spouse disclosing, about multiple credit cards with balances on them in your name. If you conclude your divorce and the debts come to your attention you would need to re-open your divorce to bring them to the attention of the judge. It is possible to do so but it will cost money and can be avoided by knowing exactly what it is on your credit report prior to a divorce.

Questions about divorce from a financial perspective? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

To learn more about a divorce and its financial implications please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family.

A consultation with our office is free of charge and is available six days a week. We would be happy to answer any question you have and to discuss the services that our office provides to our clients.

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