Without careful planning and proper guidance, a divorce can be not only emotionally draining, but financially devastating.  Here are the top 7 financial tips in divorce:

  • Safekeeping Records.  Compile records from the past three years including bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, life insurance policies, health insurance policies, vehicles, loans, titles, trusts, tax returns and, frankly, records pertaining to any and all assets and liabilities.
  • Determine the Asset Values. Begin a detailed list of all of your assets and determine the fair market value of those assets, including the value of your home, vehicle, cash value of insurance policies, bank account values, investment or retirement account values and the like.
  • Determine your Debt. Begin a detailed list of all of your debt, including student loans, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and vehicle loans so that you know where you stand in regards to your liabilities, both individually and as a married couple.
  • Call your Financial Advisor and Accountant. Discuss your current financial state along with what the future plan would be in the event of a divorce. Being advised and prepared by a financial professional is a key in planning for the present and future.
  • Document personal property. Begin a list of all personal property that is jointly owned, such as wedding gifts and items purchased together throughout the marriage. Also begin a list of all personal property that you brought into the marriage or gifts that you received during the course of the marriage.
  • Document Routine Expenditures. Begin keeping detailed records of your day-to-day expenses such as household (i.e. groceries, utilities and the like), out of pocket medical, grooming, clubs/donations, children-related, dining out and more. This will give you a realistic picture of what your monthly budget is and needs to be going forward.
  • Legal Fees and Costs. Review the monthly invoice provided by your legal counsel to keep track of the work that is being done on your behalf.  This will allow you to better prepare yourself and your case for each step of the divorce process.

You can find Jennifer R. Ward, Founder of WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC at www.wardfamilylawchicago.com or you can follow her on Facebook @WardFamilyLaw, Instagram @divorcerer, Google Plus @Wardfamilylawchicago and Twitter @WardFamLawIL