The process of filing divorce forms can be a trying time filled with uncertainty. How will your spouse respond? Will there be an extended legal battle, or can you forgo the drama with a standard online divorce through a service like iDivorceForms?
The truth is, so much is out of your hands when it comes to ending a marriage that the best course of action is to focus on what you can control. We recommend making wise decisions before, during, and after the divorce to get your financial house in order. Here are some things you can do to stay ahead.
Before The Divorce
Start with communication. So much of the cost associated with divorce depends on how you can settle things with your spouse. If you start from a position of hostility and conflict, then you’re less likely to get through the process financially unscathed. That’s why it’s important to be open and honest with your spouse. Don’t try to hide things and dial down whatever animosity you may be feeling towards them.
Even if you’re completely justified in your hostility, remember that anger begets anger. If you give it out, you’re likely to get it back, and once the gloves are off, the hope of keeping things civil and affordable goes out the window.
During The Divorce
Deal fairly and don’t try to hide assets. Not only is it illegal and likely to raise the ire of a judge if found out, it could also leave you with less than you would have otherwise received making it more difficult to get a fresh financial start.
If filing divorce papers on your own, sit down with your spouse and explain that you want the process to be fair, fast, and equitable. If left to a judge, that’s what will happen anyway so you might as well deal honestly with one another. Make sure there is an offset for everything that you give up. That doesn’t always mean an even 50/50 split of tangible assets either.
If you’ve given up your career to stay at home with the kids, for example, then there are some intangibles that must be accounted for.
After The Divorce
When you and your spouse or a judge have determined how assets and debts are to be divided, the first thing that you need to do is take the judgment and start planning out your new way of life. Create a household budget, accounting for the income and liabilities that you have and always remember the big rule of finance: never spend more than you take in.
On Dealing With Debt
If you want to buy big items and splurge purchases, then make sure the terms of credit are favorable with low, under 10 percent (preferably five) interest rates or extended-month, no interest payment plans for a limited time. Both are good ways to buy homes, cars, smartphones, iPads, etc. Bottom line: if you can’t afford to save, take care of the necessities, and keep all monthly payments current, then don’t buy it.
Also, try not to create new debt until you’ve paid off old debt. To do that, consider “stacking” payments so that when one payment plan is done, you roll over the money to another debt. Pay off your highest-interest debts first.