Untangling finances can be hard for Texas couples that are going through a divorce. The longer you have been married, the more complicated it will be to separate your financial life from that of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, there are some things that you can do ahead of property division negotiations that might make things go smoother.
Start tracking your expenses
If you don’t already track your expenses and live on a budget, now is a great time to start. Not only will this prepare you for financial independence after your divorce, it could help you immensely during divorce negotiations.
Keeping track of your regular bills and expenses will give you a clearer picture of how much to ask for in spousal or child support. If you’re the higher earning spouse, it could benefit you to know how much you can realistically afford to pay if your spouse demands alimony.
Collect documentation for everything
It’s completely normal to not have all of the account numbers and balances memorized on your checking, savings and investment accounts. If you don’t gather that information early, though, your spouse could end up hiding it from you. Ignorance of how much money or debt you actually have could hurt you in negotiations.
As soon as you know you are going to be divorcing, start collecting all of your financial records, including:
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Loan statements
- Pay stubs
- Recent tax returns
- A list of all marital assets and debts
- A list of all personal assets and debts
Spend carefully, and prepare a defense
One of the worst times to make a huge financial move is right in the middle of a divorce. If you make a major investment or a large purchase, your spouse could say that you are trying to hide or destroy marital assets. In fact, a lot of estranged spouses get a temporary restraining order to prevent the other one from draining the bank accounts before the divorce is finalized. Think defensively, and be conservative about your spending during this time.