You’ve decided you can’t stay in your marriage. You’ve tried and it’s not working. What should you do to prepare for the process? Should you tell your spouse immediately? Hire an attorney? Tell your best friend? As you move forward, you will face a multitude of decisions that will have an effect on the rest of your life. Here’s one suggestion: gather information and build a team.
If you have always played a role in the marital finances, great! If you have never played an active role in your marital finances, now is the time to take a look. Determine what your assets and liabilities are–what do you have and what do you owe.
Are there retirement accounts, education funds, brokerage accounts? What are their balances? Who owns them, you or your spouse? Do you have debts? Does your spouse? Do you know what your monthly expenses are?
These are questions you will want to begin to answer as you build your divorce team. Who should you have on your team? The answer to that will depend upon how complicated you believe your divorce will be, but you should surround yourself with professionals who will have your best interest in mind.
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) may be a good place to start. A CDFA® is uniquely qualified to help you determine what your assets are and how you can divide them and attain an equitable divorce settlement.
By Lara Ferguson