Tips for Avoiding Financial Mistakes in a Divorce

Tips for Avoiding Financial Mistakes in a Divorce

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Finances in a divorce can be complicated and contentious, and both parties want to avoid unnecessary costs. Both spouses also want to make sure they have the money they need to live outside the marriage, and they can protect valuable assets they believe to be separate property that should be not distributed during property division. While financial concerns can seem overwhelming during your Chicago divorce, you should know that a recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments and reported in Reuters suggests that, “by five years after a divorce, most people feel recovered from the psychological and financial blows.”

Yet even if you are most likely to bounce back financially from your divorce, you can still avoid common mistakes many people make in divorce cases. The following are tips for avoiding financial errors in your divorce.

Learn About Family Finance As Soon As Possible

If your spouse was the one who primarily handled finances in your marriage, it is important to begin learning about family finance issues as soon as possible, from managing bank accounts to dealing with tax issues. The Fidelity Investments study provides a checklist for learning about family finance matters, which includes the following topics:

  • Tax returns;
  • Tax statements, including Social Security and property taxes;
  • Mortgage documents and applications;
  • Credit card statements;
  • Bank statements;
  • Loans, including student loans and personal loans;
  • Details about family members, including birth dates and Social Security numbers;
  • Employer names and contact information for both spouses;
  • Health insurance information, including for children and other dependents;
  • Pay information, including secondary income from investments or family support;
  • Retirement and pension information; and
  • Investment accounts, including annuities and stock options.

Budget Ahead of Time

You can avoid ending up in a difficult financial spot after your divorce if you budget ahead of time. Be sure to consider regular expenses as well as costs you may not automatically anticipate.

If Possible, Communicate with Your Spouse

If you are still on speaking terms with your spouse, communicating about family finances can help you to avoid forgetting about certain marital debt or even particular marital assets. Although communication with your ex can feel difficult and emotionally draining, it can be beneficial for ensuring financial aspects of your divorce go smoothly.

Consider a Property Settlement Agreement

If you have a sense of what is best for you in terms of property division and post-divorce finances, you should consider working with your lawyer to negotiate a property settlement agreement with your ex-spouse. If you are both able to agree to terms in a property settlement agreement, you will not need to go through the difficult process in which the court divides marital property.

Create a Postnuptial Agreement

If you do not have a premarital agreement in place, you may still be able to create a postnuptial agreement. In a postnuptial agreement, you can reach an agreement with your spouse about a variety of financial issues, including how particular marital assets or debts will be distributed in the divorce and how certain assets or debts will be classified (as separate or marital property).

Seek Advice from a Divorce Attorney in the Chicago area

Do you have questions about avoiding financial mistakes in your divorce? There are steps you can take now to make financial matters easier during and after your divorce. An experienced Chicago divorce attorney can discuss your options with you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today.