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2 major financial issues to address during divorce

If your spouse asks for a divorce, one of the first things you need to think about is your financial position. You have a lot at stake here. Mistakes during this process could cost you tens of thousands of dollars -- or more.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you actually have access to money when you need it. For instance, it's wise to start your own checking account and your own credit card account if you currently share one with your spouse, as many married couples do. Don't run the risk of having your spouse close out accounts without telling you, making it impossible to get money quickly.

Next, you need to start thinking about all of your assets and the documentation that it takes to prove that you hold them. Some important documents that you need include:

  • Tax returns
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Retirement account statements
  • Investment statements
  • Payroll information

These help you on many levels. For one thing, they help to really show you what assets you own and what you should expect when you and your spouse divide those assets. Many people keep their distance from the specifics while married -- maybe your spouse always pays the bills and the taxes -- and then do not know what they deserve.

Additionally, the paperwork noted above helps you plan for the future. Your financial situation is going to change, and it is never too soon to begin planning for that change.

These financial issues are not the only ones you may face. Be sure that you know all of the legal steps you can take to make this process go smoothly.

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