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Steps to take to prepare financially for your divorce

Finances are one of the key factors in getting a divorce. It might simply be that a lack of finances in the marriage is causing stress, but many times it is simply an incompatibility between the two people in the marriage about their finances. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are already at odds over finances, getting divorced is going to be that much more difficult. That's not to say that you cannot get divorced, but you should count the cost and be prepared.

What can you do before the divorce?

Before you talk to an attorney about your divorce, you should start compiling documents and information about your financial position. Get copies of your tax returns over the past few years. Know which bank accounts you hold jointly with your spouse and which ones you do not. Find out what assets and debts you have together and separately. If you can start setting aside emergency cash, you should try to save up about $2,000 or more to pay your attorney.

Some experts recommend speaking to a financial advisor about ways to make it through the divorce to put yourself in the best financial circumstances possible. You should definitely think about how the divorce will change your lifestyle. Do not wait too long to get financial help. You should also be cautious about making large gifts or loans during this time, as it could appear to the court that you are hiding your assets.

Review your beneficiary designations on each account, from bank accounts to life insurance. Amend your will and other legal documents. You should also think about your tax situation and how it will change. When working out the details of the divorce, you have to determine which parent claims the children as dependents.

Talk to your attorney about debts, stock options, retirement plans and professional practices owned by you and your spouse. Although it might be complicated to divide a 401(k), it can be split equitably. Forensic experts can help you and your spouse find a resolution in your financial situation.

Know what you are facing financially in your divorce

You will need to establish your own accounts, such as checking, retirement, insurance and credit cards. After child custody issues, property division is probably the most heated aspect of a divorce. Getting your finances in order before you start the legal process of divorce will help you be more efficient during the proceedings and help you come out more stable. Work with your attorney to find the best outcome for you.

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