While the decision to get a divorce may seem sudden to friends and family members, there is generally a long process leading up to it. There may have been hidden fights and disagreements going on for years, or a recent turn of events may have made you consider divorce as an option. Whatever the reason, it is important to take the actions needed to protect yourself. The following outlines five crucial steps in pre-divorce planning:
Under the Illinois Statutes (750 ILCS 5/503), all marital property earned, acquired, or otherwise accumulated during the marriage will be divided equitably between the parties. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a spouse to sell, give away, or attempt to destroy possessions as a way of ‘getting back’ at the other spouse. To protect your financial interests in this property, make a thorough list now of all real estate, vehicles, household furnishings, antiques, and other objects you own. This can be used later in your divorce case.
In addition to creating an inventory of all property, make a list of all financial assets you and your spouse possess. Include checking or savings accounts, investment funds, and retirement benefits. Collect recent statements for these accounts showing current balances. If you own shares in a business, gather past tax returns showing profits or losses and consider getting an updated valuation.
Getting a divorce impacts every area of your life. Your personal finances are one area in which these impacts are likely to be most severe. Determine how much you will need to live on your own, calculate what your monthly bills and expenses are likely to be, and consider whether spousal support may be warranted in your case.
As part of preparing yourself and your finances for divorce, it is important to reestablish your credit. In addition to opening individual checking or savings accounts, consider taking out a small personal loan or getting a credit card in your name and make payments on it regularly.
According to NerdWallet, one of the most common mistakes people make in pre-divorce planning is relying on advice from well-meaning friends. Instead of basing decisions on hearsay and rumors, talk to a divorce attorney about the specific facts in your case.
At Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C., we provide trusted legal guidance you can count on to protect you when considering a divorce. Contact our Will County divorce attorney today and request a confidential, one-on-one consultation.
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