They say that money is the root of all evil. That evil has the potential to cause chaos in divorce. When it comes to divorce it seems all issues revolve around money and the kids.
So what can you do to prepare yourself to take care of your own needs and be reasonable within the financial negotiations that will inevitably happen?
First gather every piece of paper with a dollar sign that is part of your family finances. Go to http://www.allfamilylaw.com/Client-Forms/ for a list of forms that can help organize that information. If you have children under 18, also download http://www.allfamilylaw.com/Resources.shtml
These filled-out forms can be extremely helpful as you organize yourself for divorce. Just looking at, touching, and sorting these items can begin to put you in touch with your financial reality. You will see the household cash flow.
Organizing these documents on a thumb drive and/or in a notebook with page protectors, should help you feel more confident in your decisions. Remember divorce is about money and kids. This preparation can give you real numbers so you can be more prepared to make hard decisions and negotiate with your soon-to-be-former spouse from strength.
If all the financial stuff becomes too complicated or is just overwhelming, consider speaking with a professional. CPA’s, who understand tax issues and Financial Planners (and there are even Certified Divorce Financial Analysts) will often give low cost or free advice about wise asset and liability division. Consider the value of their input.
Once you know the income and outgo of your family you are better able to make the division decisions that must be made. It’s always good to know what’s actually there in the family wallet and what you absolutely need to live. Negotiation and preparation for the next phase of your life will be based on these numbers and the decisions you make about the minor children.
After organizing the finances you will have something concrete to show an attorney. You might, in fact, only need a few hours of a lawyer’s time to handle your divorce. That is what is so wonderful about The Manely Firm P.C.’s unbundled services with The Justice Café. On your own you can accomplish as much as possible gathering information and filling out the forms – then talk with the attorney about how many affordable, pre-paid Justice Café hours it should take to complete the divorce settlement.
Information is power. Calm yourself down and methodically gather and organize the financial details of your family. The time spent in this preparation, together with the wise counsel of your Justice Café attorney, will save untold stress and regret in your divorce.