Divorce rates in New Mexico are unfortunately above the national average, even here in Albuquerque. It can be a painful and challenging process for anyone. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to somehow manage a level-headed approach to certain aspects of the dissolution, particularly finances. Here are some critical steps to prepare yourself financially for the divorce.
Review your finances
Settling the financial aspect of the dissolution of your marriage isn’t merely a matter of receiving your fair share of assets, although that’s important. With a careful review of your current financial situation before a divorce, you’ll be fully aware of both the assets and debts in your marriage. This is important because, in many cases, couples seeking divorce are unable to settle a joint debt in full. You want to make sure a reasonable agreement is reached about debt as well as assets.
Compile your documents
You’ll need to assemble a collection of documents – bank statements, mortgage and loans, investment records, insurance policies, tax returns, and retirement benefits, if applicable – that provides you with an overview of your financial situation. Also list down your significant assets, such as automobiles, luxury or collector’s items. These will serve as supporting documents down the line.
A simple spreadsheet or file organizer can help you keep track of everything. Or, if you prefer, use online tools or apps for creating and tracking budgets, such as Mint. Remember that going through a divorce is a long process that can sap your energy and strain your emotions; making your tasks easier is a way of taking care of yourself.
Understand your needs
Even before the divorce takes place, you need to have a reasonable estimate of what it would take financially to maintain the lifestyle you consider necessary after the split. This is especially important if you are going to receive custody of the children, if applicable. You can use the same budget planners to draw up a picture of your projected cost of living. Don’t forget to factor in debt payments and tax deductions.
Manage your credit cards
You shouldn’t overlook or postpone handling your credit card accounts, especially joint accounts, as you go about preparing for the divorce. If possible, have a conversation with your spouse to discuss responsibility for settling a debt. Joint accounts must be closed as soon as possible because creditors are allowed to collect from either party whose name is on the account.
Note that it’s possible to separate and preserve your good credit records, but may be difficult. Women may also need to change their name and rebuild their credit history. Reaching out to support groups in Albuquerque or attending workshops can further increase your awareness of the various potential issues that may come up.
Division of property
As your preparations for the divorce move along, you’ll eventually sit down and discuss the dissolution of your Albuquerque property with your divorce lawyers. While New Mexico law states that property must be split equally between the two parties in a divorce, note that there are exceptions – and you may find out that you need to furnish additional documents to prove that any property was separately owned, or that non-financial contributions were made.
Going through a divorce is a trying period in life, but it’s important to find within yourself the ability to keep a cool head, do your diligence, and make clear decisions regarding your financial future.