Along with the emotional turmoil, one of the most difficult parts of getting divorced is figuring out your finances. How are you going to afford to live? What assets and debts are going to be given to you? Will you have to get a job or go back to school?
Before you decide to go through with your divorce, make sure you’re covered financially. Here are some steps you can take to prepare.
Look at Your Finances
The first thing you should do is get an accurate picture of your finances. Look at your job’s payment stubs and/or your tax returns, your bank accounts, your credit cards, any personal loans you have, your mortgage, your car loan, your retirement accounts, and investment accounts. You can subtract your debts from your assets to calculate your net worth. Ohio does equitable distribution, so there is no guarantee that you’ll receive 50% of the assets/debts. The court will determine what is fair and equitable.
Determine How You’ll Make a Living
Even if you may be getting assets and/or spousal support (alimony) in your Ohio divorce, you may also need to work to generate income. If you haven’t worked in a long time, you might have to update your resume, work with a career coach, apply to jobs, and/or go back to school to learn more.
Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report
You can receive a free copy of your credit report on a site like Experian.com. There, you can see a list of all your accounts and find out your credit score. Follow the rules for keeping your credit score as high as possible, like paying off your debt as much as you can and not shutting down your cards. If you’re paying high fees, you can simply downgrade to cards that don’t charge fees so that it doesn’t have a negative impact on your credit score.
Carefully Weigh What You Seek in the Divorce
You may want to receive as many assets as you can. But, this could be a mistake. For instance, if you have an SUV, you may not be able to afford the high cost of gas to fill it. Or, if you want your marital home, you may not be able to pay the mortgage and/or maintain it. Now is usually a good time to downsize until you readjust and figure out what your life is going to look like post-divorce.
Start Creating a Budget
It’s a good idea to find out what you’re spending your money on and how you can budget when you’re divorced. Your assets, spousal support, and child support can run out pretty quickly if you aren’t careful. Using an app like Mint, which is a budget tracker and planner, will help you greatly during your divorce and after it’s finalized.
Wait Until You Proceed With Big Decisions
Even though you’ll eventually have to update your will, trust, and beneficiary designations, now is not the time to do it. Wait until you have consulted with a divorce lawyer and your divorce is finalized before you take any definitive steps. Otherwise, you could end up making a costly mistake.
Get in Touch With Richard P. Arthur
Richard P. Arthur, Attorney at Law, can help you file for divorce in Ohio. You can call 937-254-3738 for a consultation. He has more than three decades of experience helping clients in Dayton and Trotwood, as well as Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, and Warren counties.