Splitting up is emotionally traumatic. You go from sharing your life with a partner to figuring out how you are going to start a new life. Before you shared the load: dividing up housework, errands and financial responsibilities. Now you are in charge of shoveling the snow and paying the cable bill.
You may be feeling a little overwhelmed by all these new responsibilities and are not sure how you are going to make it all work. Here are some tips to help you maintain your finances during a divorce.
Establish a record of all your assets
When you go through a divorce, you divide all your marital property. Oregon is an equitable distribution state, so your marital property is divided equitably. That does not necessarily mean evenly, but how the you and your former spouse or the court deems fair. Marital property are all the assets you have acquired during your marriage. Though certain assets like an inheritance or gifts are not considered marital property.
Once you have gone over your mortgage, bank accounts, retirement savings and any other assets, you will have a much better idea of where you stand financially. You should print out paper copies of all these financial statements. According to Business Insider, you will want a physical record of the balances in case your spouse decides to change the password or tries to withdraw money without your consent.
Open a new bank account
If you and your soon-to-be ex shared bank accounts, you are going to want to open your own account. Start depositing all your paychecks into that account. You should also consider talking to your former partner about closing your joint accounts. If you think he or she will agree, then ask to divide up the money. However, if you are concerned your ex may try to take your shared money, withdraw some cash for yourself. Do not empty your joint account, but take out enough cash to cover your upcoming expenses.
Get a credit card
If you do not have a credit card in your name, open a credit card as well. It will help you start to build a credit history that is separate from your former spouse. This will come in handy if you need to secure new housing or a car loan.
Go over your budget
Maybe you pay all the bills, so you already have a monthly budget. If you do not, make a list of all your expenses including your mortgage payment, internet bill, gas bill and car payment. You should also include an estimate for costs like groceries and entertainment expenses. Plan to set aside money for emergency expenses like car repairs or home repairs.
Once you have a handle on outgoing expenses, you may realize your expenses are too high, and you need to cut some corners going forward. Maybe you cannot afford to keep the marital home because the mortgage and maintenance expenses are too high. Or perhaps, you can stay there if you get rid of the cable, spend less on groceries or stop going out to dinner so often. Try to be realistic about your finances.
Consider talking to a financial professional
After going over your expenses, you still may be unsure about what you will need to survive on after the divorce. You may want to consider talking to a financial planner. A financial planner goes over all your assets and expenses, and gives you an honest assessment of your financial picture. He or she can also help you figure out what assets you should ask for during property division, so you get your fair share.
A divorce causes a financial strain on most people. However, if you are proactive about getting a clear picture of all your assets, opening new accounts and going over your budget, you can maintain your financial stability and move forward successfully.