The following tips can help make your divorce case easier, less stressful, and less expensive:
- Locate, organize and copy all financial records. Make one copy for yourself and a second for your attorney. Save the originals.
- Close all joint bank and brokerage accounts. If that’s not possible, freeze access to the accounts.
- Close all joint credit accounts. Open new accounts in your own name.
- Maintain a written record of all expenses run up during the separation. This also includes joint expenses such as bills paid and home improvements or auto maintenance.
- Establish your net worth. Keep a record of all income during the separation. Save pay stubs, bank and brokerage statements.
- The forced sale of stock or other investments is likely to have tax implications. Consult your financial planner as needed.
- Before the settlement conference, make a list of what you seek right down to household goods.
- If there’s something you know your soon-to-be ex wants in the property settlement, don’t give it away in a hopeless effort to establish goodwill. Use it as a bargaining chip and trade it for something you want.
- Settle out of court. This will cut legal costs and ease your jangled nerves.
Source: "Making Divorce As Painless As Possible" by Scott Reeves, published at Minyanville. Thanks also to Jeffrey Lalloway of the California Divorce and Family Law blog for his post on this subject.
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