Once you announce that you’re seeking a divorce, the amount of advice you get (whether you want it or not) can quickly become overwhelming. Everybody seems to have an opinion.
Well, it’s smart to take your best cues from professionals — not well-meaning friends or relatives. According to the Forbes Financial Council, here are the essential things you need to keep in mind about your finances and your divorce:
- Get a good grip on your financial situation. Get copies of all the household’s financial documents, including debts. You can’t strategize or bargain blindly.
- Think financially, not emotionally, when dividing your assets. Your emotional attachment to an item could give it exaggerated importance and cause you to mistakenly barter away something else much more valuable.
- Don’t make rash decisions. Are you so angry that you just don’t care what your spouse takes as long as they go away? Are you so anxious to get things over you’re ready to take your spouse’s first offer? Step back and hold off until you get some clarity.
- Think ahead toward your future needs. This isn’t just for you — you also need to consider every possible aspect of your child’s changing need for support in future years. You may need a financial counselor to help you understand what you need to afford the basics.
- Don’t overlook retirement accounts. They can be a significant source of a couple’s assets. Many people assume that retirement accounts belong solely to the spouse whose name is on them, but that’s seldom true.
- Consider a mediated divorce. A litigated divorce is far more time-consuming and costly. That ends up depleting assets that could have been fairly divided with just a little cooperation.
While going through a divorce isn’t easy, it’s wise to remember that this is just a sort of uncomfortable journey on the way to something better.