Being smart about you money before and during a divorce can make the difference between living a lower lifestyle and living your current lifestyle. There are tons of financial details to be aware of during your divorce. But if you nail down the basics, those details will fall into place more easily.
Basic Step #1: Be completely organized. Create logical files for all your financial information. Create a balance sheet – a list of everything you own and everything you owe and include copies of proof, such as mortgage statements, property tax statements and retirement account statements. Assemble the last twelve months of all credit card and bank statements. Being complete will save you time and professional fees down the road.
Basic Step #2: Hire a divorce financial advisor. Having a financial advisor on your team means that you will have an objective expert to see the things that your emotions block. To survive financially, you need to recognize the good news and the bad news. To recognize them, you need an expert to explain them to you. Much of the financial issues in divorce include little known gotchas. Don’t let those bite you.
Basic Step #3: Don’t listen to your friends. They have the best intentions, but they also are not experts in your divorce. If their claim to expertise is their own divorce, you are getting slanted advice. Your divorce is different. They are all different in quiet but crucially detailed ways. Be careful to avoid the wrong advice.