Though divorce is often an emotional decision, financial considerations become equally important during the divorce process. Both sides need the settlement to establish their financial independence and security. A favorable divorce settlement can grant you valuable assets from your marriage and long-term relief in the form of spousal support. Before the financial negotiations start, there are actions you can take to prepare and protect yourself.
It is common for spouses to combine their incomes in a joint bank account. You will still have access to that account during your divorce, but your future income should go into a bank account that is solely in your name. There are several advantages to this:
- The money you deposit in a joint bank account is marital property, which is subject to division during the divorce;
- Having your own account allows you to make individual purchases that are not marital property; and
- You need your own money to fall back on in case your spouse tries to withdraw money from the joint account.
Getting a divorce is expensive, so you should be careful in budgeting your money while the process is ongoing. Unnecessary purchases can also reflect poorly on you during the divorce. It gives the appearance that you are financially irresponsible, which may negatively affect you during the division of marital property and determination of spousal support.
Properties in a marriage are classified as either marital or individual. During your divorce, the marital properties are equitably divided between the spouses, while the individual properties remain with their owner. When the divorce begins, you can start identifying which properties are:
- Individual to yourself or your spouse; or
- Likely to be disputed.
The value of the marital properties is not required to be divided exactly in half. If one spouse has significantly greater individual properties, the divorce court may compensate by giving the other spouse a larger share of the marital properties. Thus, it is to your advantage to know the value of your spouse’s individual assets.
Your spouse may understate his or her own worth in order to gain an advantage in the division of property and spousal support payments. While you still have easy access, you should make copies of key documents that show:
- How much money you both have;
- Your typical incomes;
- Valuable assets you possess; and
- Your benefits and retirement plans.
Planning for Success
Early action during your divorce can help secure your immediate and future financial status. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can provide you with the financial guidance you need during your divorce. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.