Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences a person can go through. Each divorce is unique, and unforeseen disagreements may arise during the process. The emotional and financial disruptions can spill over to all aspects of your life. Navigating this uncertain time is crucial and determines how you fare in the end.
Hire a Divorce Lawyer
If you and your partner are thinking of divorce, it is best to seek the advice of a divorce lawyer. Having a divorce lawyer early in the process will help keep your legal interests in focus and help you avoid common divorce mistakes. Be mindful of your selection of a lawyer, keeping in mind the type of relationship you plan to have with your spouse after the divorce. Interview your lawyers and pick the one that is right for you, your situation, and your budget.
Understand your Finances
Now that divorce is on the table, the primary goal of the process is the equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. You will need to have a clear understanding of your financial situation and outline all individual and shared assets and liabilities.
If you do not already have one, create a detailed budget tracking all the expenses and income of your household. Leave nothing out. Include any future expenses that may arise as well, such as college tuition if you have children.
Gather financial documents both past and present to provide a clear picture of the financial status of your marriage. These should include:
Bank and investment accounts
Credit card statements
Retirement or pension account statements
Property and vehicle titles
Statements for any loan accounts
Salary slips for both you and partner
List of all assets and debts accumulated since the marriage
Income tax returns, including Notices of Assessment and reassessment
Consulting with a financial planner or advisor can help you make solid decisions about your money during this time. They can help you plan for potential financial pitfalls and have a more secure financial footing at the end of your divorce.
Log your Inventory
Identify all items acquired before the marriage, received as gifts or inherited, that are not a part of the marital estate. Gather all documentation that provides information on the value of the items where possible. For items of significant value, take time-stamped pictures of each and include them in your log.
Start Building Your Credit
Your credit score will be important after your divorce as you try to rebuild your life. Go online and order a credit report. A credit report will outline all your debts and any that your spouse may have created in your name. If there are suspicious debts on your report, this should be brought to the attention of your attorney.
If you and your spouse share a credit card, now is the best time to close that account to avoid additional debt. Set up a credit card in your name, and make sure to pay all your credit card bills on time going forward. With the financial upheaval that may come from your divorce, applying for a credit card after may prove challenging. A credit card in your name establishes credit for you outside of your marriage. This will be beneficial in the event you would like to take a loan for a home or any other financial support you may need in the future.
Open Your Own Financial Accounts
Opening new accounts may help to separate your money and keep it secure. If there is any fear that your spouse may raid your financial accounts, you can protect yourself by separating your accounts or having them frozen. Consult with your divorce lawyer first to determine if there are ramifications of doing this before the end of your divorce proceedings.
Refrain from Big Decisions
Separating a marriage’s finances is dependent on provincial laws. Making large purchases or squirrelling away money could prove detrimental. Avoid making any large investments or real-estate purchases at this time as they may be considered part of your marital estate.
Unless your living situation is untenable, moving out of the family home during the divorce proceedings may harm your case. This may show a lack of interest in the property on your part, especially if your spouse continues to make mortgage payments. If staying is not an option, continue to pay a portion of the mortgage and document all payments made.
Consult with your lawyer before adjusting the beneficiaries listed on your insurance policy, will, retirement account, and other estate documents.
Getting Back on Your Feet
Divorce can take an enormous toll emotionally and financially. After the divorce is complete, you will need to re-evaluate your finances and prepare a revised budget with your new lifestyle in mind. You may need to find alternate sources of income now that you are a single-income family. Ensure you clean up your finances by paying off any mutual debts and removing your ex-spouse from your accounts. If you or your spouse have opted to keep the family home, ensure that the mortgage is refinanced solely in that party’s name.
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Surrey
Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side can help you navigate this turbulent process and get back on your feet as quickly as possible. If you need a divorce lawyer in Surrey, give us a call at Law Boutique LLP.
At Law Boutique LLP, our Surrey divorce lawyer will negotiate a divorce agreement that works best for your situation. Contact us as early as possible for legal advice on how to proceed with your divorce.