Statistics show that more people file for divorce in January than any other month. Psychologists have offered a variety of reasons to help explain this phenomenon, such as people wanting to make a fresh start in a new year by ending a failing marriage or people not wanting to have to discuss the issue with family and friends during the holidays. The decision to end a marriage is not one that many people take lightly, and those considering divorce should take several steps to prepare for this change.

Collect Financial Information

First, a person considering divorce should begin to collect the following financial information:

  • Bank account numbers and statements
  • Investment account numbers and statements
  • Credit card numbers and statements
  • Information about stocks and bonds
  • Mortgage documents
  • Auto loan documents and titles

People should make copies of all of these papers and put them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box.

It is also wise for a spouse considering divorce to check his or her credit report to see if there are any unknown accounts with his or her name on it. Monitoring credit activity is also important in case a person’s spouse tries to dissipate assets during the divorce proceedings.

Build a Financial Identity as a Single Person

A person planning on divorce should also start to build credit history as a single person, rather than as part of a married couple. One way to do so is to open a credit card in only the divorcing person’s name. Another wise step is to open checking and savings accounts in only the divorcing person’s name. However, people should not use the same bank or credit union for these accounts as where they hold accounts with their spouses.

People should also make a budget for when they are single, outlining their monthly incomes and all their anticipated expenses. When people have a solid understanding of their financial situations, they will be in a better position to negotiate in the divorce regarding property settlements, alimony and child support.

Consult With Professionals

People planning on divorce should not attempt to go through such a life-changing event alone. Divorce impacts people emotionally, financially and legally. As such, people should seek out referrals to qualified therapists and financial planners for support and guidance.

Most importantly, people planning on divorce need the advice of an experienced attorney to help guide them through the divorce process and ensure they receive fair settlements. If you are planning on divorcing, contact an experienced family law lawyer.