When the call comes in, the innuendo's always the same. How to minimize the financial harm of divorce before filing?
Pay off debts and minimize credit card balances.
Generally debt gets spread evenly unless there's special circumstances like one-sided gambling debt or a Rolex purchased for the pool guy. If that's the case download and save statements
Create a realistic standard of living.
This doesn't mean moving your spouse to a hovel, but if the two of you are in over your heads in real estate, consider downsizing to a home that either of you can afford on your own. The most difficult (and expensive) divorces are those where the economic bubble must be burst in the middle of warfare.
Spend more time with your kids.
If a parent is heavily trekking on the work treadmill in order to float the family boat, the opportunity cost with children is high--especially if they are going to be living with you part-time.
Go to counseling with your spouse.
You may not be able to save the marriage, but you could salvage the relationship. Navigating your kids' minority years is far easier on them (and you) if you can learn to co-parent with civility.
Establish independent credit.
Credit scores are the new black. Check your score and work to improve it, if needed
Educate your spouse about the family finances.
Show him a monthly balance sheet. Give her a realistic picture of the inflow and outflow each month. It may be scary, and there may be some resistance, but be mindful that ignorance is never blissful in a divorce.
Begin gathering documentation.
In states where separate property is acknowledged, it's typically considered with appropriate and clear documentation. This takes time. So pull together those retirement account statements from the wedding year, or get in touch with the company to track your rollover documents. This can provide your with lawyer better information when she is assessing potential outcomes.
Get yourself mentally and physically prepared.
Make a trusted work mentor aware of what you're going through. Find an outlet such as exercise to work off stress.
Whether you want this or not, there's a tough road ahead.
Pick a good leader.
Find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable, and who understands the dynamics of your relationship.
Give yourself time.
This is a monumental decision which will change the expectations and dymanics of your family forever, but if you're reading this, you already know.
It's never easy, but advance research and preparation canhelp you make a calmer analysis before the storm begins...
In the end, no one completes the divorce process unless there's no other reasonable alternative. Considering divorce does not mean it's inevitable, but it's time for an informed analysis.
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