One of the most important goals of a divorce settlement is to ensure that your financial future will not be a burden. In some cases, the months leading up to litigation or mediation may either help or hinder movement toward that goal. While divorce may be something you would rather not think about and get over with as quickly as possible, being proactive and involved can often mean the difference between reaching financial security quickly or struggling for years to get your footing.
A fair chance at asset division
Financial advisors recommend that you begin gathering asset documentation as soon as possible after the decision to divorce. Beginning with joint and individual bank accounts, you may want to collect about four year's worth of statements. This will help to establish the value of various assets.
Credit card statements may also be helpful in determining when certain items were purchased and which of you made the purchase. Doing this will facilitate asset division. It may also be useful if you have a suspicion that your spouse is depleting assets before they can be divided fairly.
Spending and credit
Another way to avoid disagreements about spending as the divorce proceeds is to close any joint credit accounts. You may be able to convince your spouse to remove him or herself from joint accounts so that you can begin to build credit independently. If this is not a possibility, opening your own credit card as soon as you are able will get you started establishing a credit history.
Closing joint accounts may cause a dip in your credit score. This is normal. However, financial advisors warn newly divorced couples to be on the lookout for drastic plunges in your credit score, which may indicate your spouse is still charging on an account to which your name is attached. An unexpected drop in your rating could also mean a creditor has made a mistake, which is quite common and a good reason to closely monitor your credit score.
Claiming what you deserve
Asset division is only one factor that can determine the standard of living you will have in the months or years following the divorce. However, it is important that you receive your fair share of marital assets so that adjustment to your new life does not include struggling with debt and bills. In addition to your share of assets, you may be entitled to spousal support. Depending on your situation, this award may be crucial to maintaining your standard of living in your new life.
Consulting with a Louisiana attorney will help you obtain the answers to any questions you have about your asset division, spousal support or other issues pertaining to your particular circumstances. A dedicated and compassionate lawyer will explain your options and help you develop a strategy that will place you in a positive position for moving forward.