Steps to Take Before You File for Divorce in the New Year

A notebook with the words "new year new me" on the cover

When it comes to divorce, January can be the busiest time of the year. Many people have suffered through the holidays and resolved to have a fresh start in the New Year. Sound familiar? If so, through all the emotions and overwhelming thoughts, make sure you take time to focus on your own financial future.

You're first going to want to evaluate your credit and see where you stand. It's important to do this because there could be some surprises awaiting you. Any joint accounts could have debt on them, so it's time to establish where you're at and where you need to go.

You're also going to want to take into consideration any leases and payments you and your spouse owe together. Any health or life insurance policies that cover your marriage will want to be deeply reviewed. If you are not the owner on the policies, your ex could easily cancel the policy without telling you.

Make it a point to set up your own accounts and stop using joint accounts. You're going to want to put your name on your own credit cards and bank accounts. Even if you don't work, you can use the household income for your credit before it no longer exists. If you begin setting aside money beforehand, you will be able to put it towards an attorney and legal fees.

While you're in the process of going over finances, you should make copies of everything you can. Having copies will give you support if your spouse tries to skew the state of the accounts at all. You will also want to take into account the current monthly expenses you have and your estimated monthly expenses after the divorce.

Some different financial areas to look at are:

  • Bank/investment/retirement accounts
  • Mortgage
  • CDs
  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • Auto
  • Real estate
  • Tax returns
  • Wills
  • Any business information
  • Both of your recent paystubs

While looking at the financial documents, you don't want to exclude the physical assets. Take inventory of all your valuables. Make sure to go through any storage units you use or safety deposit boxes. It could also be helpful to take pictures of all items in the process to be safe.

These could be anything from:

  • Jewelry
  • Collectibles
  • Art
  • Motor vehicles
  • Furs
  • Furnishings

You are going to want to set up a new email account for yourself so your spouse cannot get access it. You could also have your mail temporarily sent to a friend or a relative to keep it out of your spouse's sight. Getting a post office box is a good option as well. Once you have privacy with your mail, you can share sensitive information with different legal advisors.

Throughout the entire divorce process, it is essential to have the right legal team and financial advisor by your side. There are countless documents and loopholes a San Diego divorce attorney can make sure you are aware of and know how to deal with them effectively. Having a knowledgeable divorce team will help empower you to be able to negotiate strongly and have realistic expectations about what you are entitled to.

Despite the emotional hardship with your divorce, make sure to follow these steps so you can give your legal team the information they need to help get the best results for you. Protecting your financial future starts well before you file for divorce.

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