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Divorce: Legal Planner Checklist

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Getting divorced? Steps to take before, during and after divorce 

Divorce. Sometimes, it's difficult even to say the word. And it's safe to say you didn't aspire to ending your marriage. But divorce happens. And even when you know it's your best option, you still will dread the process... and for good reason. Because divorce is stressful. But, you can make it a little easier by following this advice.

Getting started...

Run the numbers

Start by figuring out your financial situation. What do you own? What do you owe? What is considered marital property? Get a clear financial picture before you initiate divorce because, in the long run, it will make things easier. 

Raid your filing cabinet

You will need to collect your paperwork: Bank, credit card, retirement account and investment account statements. Mortgage notes. Collect these statements. Then make copies and take them along when you meet with your divorce attorney.

Open your own bank account

Some spouses empty financial accounts as soon as they learn their partner wants a divorce. And you need to protect yourself so that you have financial resources throughout the divorce process.

Establish credit

It's important to open a credit card in your name only. Then use it sparingly and pay it off each month. Remember, credit established through joint accounts will not help you buy a house or car once you're single.

Close joint credit accounts

If possible, pay off then close joint credit accounts. It's another means of self-preservation, because you don't want your soon-to-be ex to put charges on your account once you've filed for divorce.

 

Once you're in it...

Rent a post office box

How can you keep correspondence from your attorney and creditors confidential? Enter your new friend, the post office box that will keep you mail secure.

Your new life...

Change your will

Change your will once your divorce is finalized. It's important because you will have new or different assets to leave behind. Furthermore, you can rest assured that your ex won't get your assets in the event that something happnes to you. 

Work the numbers

Some costs, such as insurance premiums, can increase whereas others may decrease when you're single. So, it's important to plan your finances accordingly.

Retitle property

Make title transfers as soon as possible. And understand that you may not be able to retitle some property until the loan is paid in full.

So, yes, divorce takes work. It's costly and taxing. But you will make it through. And the sense of peace you feel when it's over... priceless.


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