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Don’t just get it over with, prepare your finances for divorce

There may come a point when you realize that divorce is the best way to escape a bad marriage. Although this is going to change your life in many ways, you should keep in mind that things will get better sooner rather than later.

Up front, it's important that you get everything in order. Here's something to keep in mind: You should never rush through the divorce process because you want to put it in the past as quickly as possible.

This may sound like a good idea – and there is nothing wrong with wanting to move in a fast and efficient manner – but you don't want to do so at the risk of making mistakes that cause you more harm than good.

Here are the types of steps you can take early on to prepare your finances for divorce:

  • Gather all your financial records. This includes everything from bank statements to tax returns. The more information you gather the better off you will be.
  • Make a property division checklist. With this, your goal is to write down all of the assets that will go through the property division process. You don't want to leave anything out.
  • Make a list of your debts. Just the same as your assets, some debts will be divided during your divorce. These are every bit as important as assets, as they can have a big impact on your financial situation.
  • Open individual accounts. For instance, you'll want to open your own checking account and retirement account. The same may hold true for a credit card.
  • Understand how your situation will change. Now that you will be single, you need to know the type of impact it will have on your finances. For instance, if you're returning to the working world, be sure to prepare accordingly.

Anyone who is faced with the divorce process wants to get it over with as quickly as possible. While this is okay, don't move so fast that you make mistakes that you will regret later on. You need to get everything in order and understand your legal rights. This will put you in position for success.

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