If you are headed towards divorce, soon, a lot is going to change in your life, especially financially. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mother who will have to re-enter the workforce, or a father who will soon have to pay child support, or an unemployed, childless spouse who will have to go back to school so you can get a decent-paying job, surely, your life a year after the divorce will probably look very different than it does the day you file the papers.
It’s important to fully understand your financial situation. Before you file for divorce, it’s smart to know exactly how much debt you and your spouse have, how many assets you have, and what kinds of insurance policies you have in force. If you’ve been “in the dark” about your finances during the marriage, now is the time to become fully aware of where you stand financially – you and your spouse that is.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much total debt do we owe?
- How much do we owe on the mortgage and how much is the house worth? Do we have equity, or is the house upside-down?
- Do we have life insurance policies?
- Do we have an estate plan? If so, it will need to be changed after the divorce.
- Do we have any joint credit cards?
- Are both of our names on the auto loans?
- Are both of our names on the house?
- Will child support be paid?
- Will spousal support be paid?
- What will my post-divorce budget be?
- Do I need to move into a smaller, more affordable home?
- Will I need to increase my income?
Essentially, you want to get a full picture of your current financial situation, and you want to have a realistic idea of your post-divorce financial situation. If you don’t have children, you mainly need to focus on yourself, but if you have minor children, you’ll need to make decisions that are in their best interests.
For example, if you are childless, you may consider moving someplace far, such as California, to relocate for a job. But, if you have children, leaving the state, or even the county may create too many child custody headaches.
Usually, what most couples have to do is find ways to cut expenses and increase income, at least in the first year or two after a divorce. As you embark on the divorce process, do so with your “eyes wide open” so to speak. You want to be fully aware of your financial situation so you can determine what needs to be done to make it better during and after your divorce.
Need a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer? Contact Cairns Law Offices today to learn about our low-cost divorce services!