Making financial missteps during divorce can be costly and cause significant financial hardship down the road, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce, it is important to contact an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer who can ensure that you take the proper steps to prepare for your own divorce.
Track Your Expenses and Anticipate Future Costs
Once you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you should start tracking your household income and expenses, including household bills, the cost of clothing and food, home maintenance expenses, childcare costs, and transportation expenses. This can help the parties build a post-divorce budget, but can also play a crucial role in helping the court determine how to divide assets and debts, and how much to award in alimony and child support. The parties should also be careful to look beyond normal monthly expenses and account for things like vacations, holiday trips, and major one-time household expenses, such as replacing a water heater or dishwasher.
Gather Financial Documentation
Although gathering financial records can be tedious and time-consuming, it is also necessary when tracking expenses, anticipating future costs, and listing all of a couple’s assets and debts. Divorcing couples should be sure to check their checking and savings account statements from the last year, as well as current retirement and investment account statements, credit card statements from the past year, recent pay stubs, documentation related to any mortgage, auto, and personal loans, income tax returns from the past three years, and a list of all assets brought into the marriage.
Similarly, divorcing couples should be conservative when spending and saving, as dipping into marital funds for major purchases while a divorce is pending is not looked kindly upon by courts, who may see such purchases as an attempt to waste or hide assets.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Divorce laws vary by state, so it is important for Virginia residents who are considering filing for divorce, to speak with an attorney who can advise them on what steps to take prior to filing. Licensed attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of the legal procedures in their own states, including how marital assets must be divided, child support guidelines, and rules regarding alimony.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
To schedule an initial case review with an experienced divorce attorney, please call Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. at 703-591-7475, or complete one of our online contact forms. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to help you through each step of your case.