Before you file for divorce, you’ve actually got a lot of things to do. Some people rush into filing and regret it later, especially when it comes to their financial situation. While you can still file regardless of your financial circumstances if your situation calls for it, you should still review your potential case with a family law attorney and keep the answers to the following financial questions in mind first.
Can You Count on Your Spouse for Financial Support?
This is a question for anyone thinking about divorce, and it’s especially important if you have kids. Unless you are very wealthy on your own, chances are your financial situation will bounce between great and barely making it after you divorce. If you have kids and become the primary caregiver, tight times will become even more difficult to manage if you have an ex-spouse who is not good at paying support.
In cases where you are expecting spousal support, you’ll be facing the same concerns. You can’t rely on that money if you do not trust your spouse to pay it as they are supposed to. While you can take steps to enforce the payment of both spousal and child support, you won’t instantly receive back support, and this means you will be left without support for weeks or likely months before you receive what you are owed.
Can You Get Your Own Credit?
If you haven’t worked for a long time or you always shared everything with your spouse, you may have trouble getting credit in your name alone once you divorce. You will need credit to get loans, credit cards, and other financial products you might need in your post-divorce life. Before you file, apply for and try to get a credit card in your own name so you can begin to build credit in just your name. If you hit a rough financial patch after divorce, you’ll be in a much better spot if you already have some sort of credit established for yourself.
Is the Financial Timing Right for Divorce?
If you haven’t really worked much while married, you may be facing more hardships in your financial future post-divorce. This does not necessarily mean you should stay stuck in your marriage, but you should definitely review your situation with a divorce attorney before you file. They will be able to advise you on your chances of receiving spousal support, for example, and other factors, such as whether you’ll receive any of your spouse’s retirement benefits.
When you have a better idea of what you can expect to receive after your divorce in terms of income, assets, and support, you’ll be more prepared to make those crucial financial decisions that often come with divorce. Planning to have something that isn’t there when you divorce–such as spousal support–might result in you financially struggling.
Of course, if you feel unsafe in your current marriage and living situation, you might have no choice but to leave and file. No amount of money or worry about finances justifies staying in a dangerous situation. In this case, consult with an attorney about divorce immediately, and take the steps you need to stay safe.
If you opt to separate before divorcing, you’ll still need to take some steps to protect your financial future. All joint credit accounts should be closed while you are separated. You can also have both of your signatures required to do anything with joint asset accounts. This will prevent your spouse from using joint assets without your knowledge and permission, and you’re extending the same protection to them.