Facing the prospect of a divorce has likely left your head spinning, wondering what to do to protect yourself and your future. The years immediately following a divorce are often ones of rebuilding in many areas of your life. People often find themselves struggling to trust others again, working to repair relationships with their children and even finding a new set of friends after a painful divorce.
One area in which you may have some control is your finances. Taking a proactive approach to your divorce may allow you to avoid the financial struggles that many people face post-divorce. This means taking steps to protect your business and fighting to get your fair share of the marital assets in the divorce settlement.
Important steps for a positive outcome
Despite the emotional upheaval a divorce may bring, it is essentially a legal proceeding. In fact, it is a lawsuit, and one for which you must prepare carefully. Like any lawsuit, there is much on the line, and the work you put into preparation is certain to contribute to a more positive resolution.
Your first step is to assess your wants and needs for your post-divorce life. Counselors recommend making a list of things you are willing to relinquish, things you want and things for which you will not compromise. You may find it helpful to make a parallel list from your spouse’s point of view. This action will not only give you a visual tool for negotiation, but it will help your attorney understand the perspectives you and your spouse bring to the table.
The next critical steps include the following:
- Obtaining and monitoring your credit score
- Gathering tax returns for recent years
- Assessing your assets and debts
- Tracking your expenses
- Opening a credit card and bank account separate from your spouse
- Organizing your financial records with copies of all relevant documentation, including property deeds, vehicle titles and asset appraisals
- Ensuring neither you nor your spouse is hiding assets
- Creating a budget based on your estimated post-divorce finances
If you own a Colorado business, there will be additional steps to take and potentially fierce negotiations. Your attorney can advise you on the best ways to protect your interest in the business.
Your attorney will be a critical part of your divorce process, so you will want to find someone who has experience in reaching satisfying settlements in a cost-efficient and timely manner. An attorney who is comfortable with alternative dispute resolution as well as divorce litigation will be an asset to your divorce team.