Seeking a divorce means more than just considering 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 period immediately after a divorce. Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, continues yesterday's where we will discuss more tips and tricks to look into before actually filing for divorce.
Open your bank account. I've learned in handling divorce cases 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, you need to open up a new bank account before 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 nonessentials 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, 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, you will likely 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 leftover at the end of the month in terms of money. 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 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 of reasons. First, if you are the spouse who will be leaving the family home to live elsewhere, you will be at a severe disadvantage in taking inventory of the items to be divided in your divorce. So that you can remember any things that you believe are yours or your separate property, take photos before leaving the house so that you can place them with your attorney. You can only negotiate on the items that you remember.
Secondly, if there is any dispute with your spouse regarding 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, an item goes missing from the living room the day after you leave 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 company is to be valued is a hotly debated subject, so having tax records, a list of inventory and your customer list can show just how profitable your business is and other sources for value in the industry. 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 judge's attention. It is possible to do so, but it will cost money and be avoided by knowing exactly what is on your credit report before a divorce.
Questions about divorce from a financial perspective? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
To learn more about divorce and its financial implications, please get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. 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 questions and discuss our office's services with our clients.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.