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
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.