What to do Before a Divorce

in Divorce

What to do Before a Divorce


If you feel that you are heading for a divorce, one of the first things that you will need to do is sort out your finances.  You will probably be going from a dual income to a single income, so curtailing your spending now will be a very good habit to acquire.  You will still have all of your bills to pay after the divorce, so you will definitely need to be prepared financially.  These are some steps that you can take that should help you with the process.


  • Meet with a financial adviser.  This should ideally be done before you (or your spouse) file for divorce, though if this is not possible, you should do it as early in the proceedings as you can.  Get a copy of all bank statements that you hold either individually or jointly, and show these to your financial adviser.

  • Start setting aside as much money as you can afford.  You will need this to pay for the initial consultation and the retainer fee for your chosen divorce lawyer.  You may find it easiest to stash an emergency supply of cash somewhere, or you could set up an instant access savings account that is in your name alone.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can access the money quickly.

  • In addition to savings, you should set up your own bank account, which is in your name only, and preferably held at a different bank to where your joint account is held.  All of your income, regardless of where it comes from, should be paid directly into this account from now on.  This ensures that your finances are completely separate from those of your spouse, and they will not have access to this money.

  • Think about how a divorce will affect your tax situation.  You will probably have been filing your tax returns as a couple, which you will no longer be able to do after the divorce.  Instead, your tax status will change to either single or head of household.  Head of household offers some benefits, but there are several criteria that you need to meet.  If you have children, then you should be aware that only one of you can claim them as dependents, even if you are sharing custody.  Usually, the parent with whom they spend more time will be able to claim the children as dependents, but this is negotiable.

  • If you haven’t been working during your marriage, then be aware that any settlement you receive is unlikely to be sufficient for you to live on.  This means that you will probably need to start applying for jobs, so that you are able to support yourself in the future.  Although you might think that you are guaranteed to receive alimony, this is not the case and it is by no means certain that your ex will have to pay anything.

  • The best thing that you can do, if you are heading for a divorce or if the proceedings have already begun, is to be prepared.
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Tim Roberts has 29 articles online

Rick Banks has been a practicing divorce litigator and mediator for over 25 years and the author of Win Your Divorce - Emotionally, Socially and Financially.  You'll find more articles from Rick on his website and blog  www.winyourdivorce.com.

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What to do Before a Divorce

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This article was published on 2013/06/26