After a divorce, you’re essentially embarking on a new life. As tough as it can be to look ahead at your new single life, it’s more important than ever that you start looking at your future now, not after the ink has dried on the final divorce agreement.
One of the first steps you need to take is a close look at your financial well being, and this means considering things you may not have thought of when you and your ex first sat down to work on the terms of the divorce. Financial mismanagement, in fact, has popped up in many studies as a leading factor in divorces in the US today, so when you are leaving the marriage, it’s important that you act as your financial advocate alongside your family law attorney.
As you prepare for or go through your divorce, here are some less-commonly considered financial areas you need to weigh.
Employment Benefits and Workers’ Compensation
If you are in the middle of your divorce, it’s likely you’ve redone your estate planning and updated life insurance policies. However, you may not have considered whether you or your spouse will have some share of workers’ comp benefits or other entitlements from employment should one of you be injured or become sick. For example, unless you defined how such insurance policies would be allocated after divorce, you may find you have to split the benefits of a policy that came into effect while you were still married.
In fact, since the divorce process can be long and illness or on-the-job injuries can happen at any time, it’s wise to get these issues settled early, in writing and legally. This is particularly important if you are trying to protect your assets and build your financial future as a single person. If you have any concerns in this area of the divorce, speak to your family law attorney.
Get Experts in the Mix as Needed
Disentangling your finances from those of your spouse can be complex and even difficult, depending on the assets and debts involved. To that end, the involvement of a family law attorney you have faith in and other experts, as needed, will be crucial to safeguarding your financial future.
Do Some Accounting
As you are working with your family law attorney, you can also take a step into the world of accounting. After all, getting and keeping your finances in order means you’re probably going to have to do some math. Luckily, you don’t need to be a math whiz to be successful here–there are plenty of accounting apps that are easy to use and can help you learn what you need to know to keep an eye on your finances.
Keep Your Finances Clean
You may not want to consider it right now, but there is a chance you will fall in love again and you may decide to marry again. But if you do decide to take on a life partner again or remarry, you can’t let all the financial work you’ve done in this period of your life simply fall away.
Make sure you have some serious financial conversations with your new partner before you make it official. You can even consider a prenuptial agreement, which will help ensure that if you divorce again, the divorce won’t start out full of unsettled issues.
Even more amicable divorces can be painful, and there’s always a recovery period. However, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with financial hardship as you work on healing your heart. As you go through a divorce, it’s necessary that you protect your financial future, and that means addressing things you may not have considered at first.