If you have not already done so I highly recommend that you go back to yesterday’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC that covers information relating to preparations that you can begin to undertake yourself in anticipation of your divorce in Texas. Depending on your case you may have a lot of preparation work that is necessary or relatively little. Either way, you can get a jump on things by being diligent and treating this case as the most important aspect of your life for a relatively short period of time.
Make necessary, not long term, financial decisions during a divorce
Retail therapy isn’t just something that people do after getting broken up with in high school or college. Heading to the store and purchasing clothes or any other type of item on credit may feel good in the moment, but in the long run can cause you to suffer a great deal. Incurring a great deal of debt may not only throw your negotiations over financial matters into disarray but it could also violate court orders that bar you from incurring debt during the divorce.
Don’t attempt to hide from your divorce through making spur of the moment purchases. Go for walks, learn a new hobby or begin to look for the financial documents your attorney needs that we discussed at the end of yesterday’s blog. These are all ways to not think about some of the less positive aspects of your divorce while keeping you from harming your future financial-self.
Secondly, don’t change beneficiaries on life insurance or your will quite yet. It may feel good to go ahead and remove your spouse’s name from your life insurance policy but it may be in violation of a court order. Definitely do these steps as soon as your divorce has completed but not before then. Talk with your attorney if you have any specific questions that I have not covered in yesterday or today’s blogs.
Spend and save reasonable amounts during a divorce
The first and most notable cost in your divorce journey will be hiring an attorney. If you and your spouse are planning your divorce together then you have likely spoken about how much you all plan on spending on attorneys. If you have not had this conversation I would recommend doing so. If you can agree to most of the issues in your case and then select reasonably priced (yet experienced) divorce attorneys you could end up saving yourselves a great deal of money in the long run.
Next, remember that budgeting is especially important during your divorce. The reason is that the income from your spouse likely won’t be utilized the same during your divorce as it was before the divorce began. You cannot rely on him or her for their income any longer. Either the judge will order or you two will agree on who is going to pay what bills for the duration of your divorce.
After you and your spouse have your marching orders as far as who is responsible for what bill, I recommend to clients that you be as straightforward and honest with your spouse as possible when it comes to finances. Make sure that he or she has access to their mail if you are the one remaining in the family home. It is not reasonable to expect him or her to be able to pay their bills if you are not getting them their mail.
If you are at all able to do so, consider how you can save money during your divorce. Very quickly after your divorce you will come to realize that it is more difficult to live a lifestyle close to what you were leading when you were married now that you have only one income. While your spouse is responsible for paying a share of the bills it is critical that you save money. This will help your transition into single life after the divorce and can be especially helpful during your divorce if you run into unforeseen costs.
Admit to yourself when you need to seek help in your personal finances
Personal finances are just that- personal. I’ve seen extremely intelligent people going through divorces attempt to rationalize their behavior. Unfortunately, a divorce is not a purely rational activity and neither are your personal finances. Throwing humans into the mix necessarily means that irrational behavior and emotion play a role in the process.
There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you need help to make it through your divorce in one piece, financially speaking. You probably don’t have all the answers to your problems and asking others for assistance is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.
Your first step in that process is hiring a diligent, competent and experienced family law attorney to represent you in your divorce. Even if you and your spouse have discussed doing an “uncontested” divorce that does not mean that you should enter into your divorce without representation. Hiring an attorney is not a sign that you all are about to engage in a full on assault for each other’s pocketbooks. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know the ins and outs of your case and to be able to prepare for any eventuality that may come your way.
Next, you may want to consider speaking with a person who has knowledge in investments to be able to help guide you once your divorce has become finalized. Paying off debt, saving an emergency fund and then investing for retirement is a plan that many people take advantage of at the conclusion of their divorce. Many financial planners will meet with you at no charge to discuss your situation. Most people are not in the best financial state immediately after a divorce. Again, this does not indicate some sort of flaw in your character.
How the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC assists clients in preparing financially for their divorce
While many of the trips and tricks that we’ve discussed today and yesterday are steps that you need to take independent of your attorney, our office takes a great deal of pride in helping our clients prepare for their divorce from a financial perspective.
First and foremost we will work with you to plan out how you see your property being divided up. An Inventory and Appraisement will be due in your case that mandates that you turn in a form which states your assets, their anticipated value as well as a run down of your monthly bills and income. These pieces of information are critical both in the beginning and end of your divorce case. A court will utilize these documents in order to divide up property and debt at the end of a divorce and will help a judge when dividing up bills between you and your spouse during the temporary orders phase of your case.
Our legal assistants, paralegals and attorneys will help you to fill these forms out and get them submitted to the court well in advance of any deadlines. Next, our office will walk through any discovery requests that ask for financial documents. If you have followed our advice and collected these documents in advance of the discovery requests being made you will be even more ahead of the game. As our client we will walk with you through your divorce to help you do what is necessary to ensure your case is a success and that your goals are achieved.
Questions about preparing for a divorce financially? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC appreciate your interest in this important topic. If you have any questions for our licensed family law attorneys please contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. Our attorneys can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have in a comfortable and pressure free environment. We hope you will join us tomorrow as we continue to share information and advice on family law issues in Texas.