You may think when you begin your divorce proceedings that everything will go smoothly and you both will act amicably, but that isn't always the case. Divorce can bring out sides of your significant other that you may have never known existed. Divorces can get ugly, so it's important to be careful and to be prepared financially in the event things don't go the way you thought they would. See below for some tips to help you prepare for your divorce.
Hire Your Own Attorney
Again, you may think that things will go amicably, but that may not happen. It's best to get your own attorney that will have your best interests in mind right from the beginning. If you hire one single attorney to handle the case and things go sour halfway through, that attorney will help the person that first made the appointment, and if that's not you, it could end badly. Hire your own attorney to help protect yourself.
Open Your Own Bank Account
Immediately open up your own bank account at a different bank than where you banked with your spouse. Opening up a new bank account will allow you access to money whenever you need it, which will be beneficial in the event your spouse takes everything from your marital account, leaving you with nothing. Change your payroll direct deposit (if you had one) and have your checks deposited into the new account. You can pay bills out of that account instead of your marital account.
Begin Saving Money
It's imperative that you buckle down and cut back on frivolous spending. Begin putting money away into a savings account, as you're going to need money to pay for attorney's fees, court fees, and possibly bills that you didn't have to pay for before.
Educate Yourself On Your Finances
If you are someone that normally didn't take care of the finances, such as paying bills or taking care of the checkbook, it's time to educate yourself a bit on these things. You need to be more aware of where money was spent throughout your marriage, how much money was coming in, and the debts incurred. Start going through financial records (bank records, pay stubs, 401k statements, life insurance, etc.), make copies if need be, and start your own files so you have this information for future reference.
Make Changes To Insurance Policies
Insurance policies such as life insurance should be changed to a different beneficiary other than your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Be sure to change any beneficiary information on policies you have through your employer as well (such as a 401k or an IRA). Change it to a close family member, or to your children instead.
Even if you and your spouse have discussed your divorce openly and without argument, its best to protect yourself just in case things begin to get ugly. Talk to your divorce lawyer about what other things you should do financially in order to protect yourself. You can also check out sites like http://www.siouxlandlaw.com for more information.