Considering Divorce

There are many things that need to be considered when you are thinking about a divorce. Some of the ones you need to consider (not including children), are listed here. There are many more, but these are the basics.

1. Where will you live?

If you have not already separated, you will need to decide where you will live. If you and your spouse own a house, you will need to consider if you want to and/or can afford to stay in the house. If not, you need to know the value of the house and the mortgage balance owed, so you can determine how much you will have from the sale, or if your spouse can or will buy-out your interest in the house. You will also need to determine what your housing costs will be if you stay in the house or if you move to a new apartment or house.

2. Where will you work?

If you are not retired, or have a source of income, you will need to consider what income you will have from employment. If you are already employed, you will need to decide if you will continue in that position or job and if not, what changes will need to be made. You also need to have copies of your income tax returns, including all W-2s and 1099s for the past two years and copies of current paystubs for yourself and your spouse. If you or your spouse are receiving retirement pay, social security or other regular monthly payments you need to know the gross and net incomes from these sources, so you need the payment information, including all withholdings.

3. What will you do about health insurance?
Unless you already have health insurance from Medicare or your own employment, you will need to consider how you will cover health insurance for yourself after the divorce. Generally you will not be able to continue on your spouse's insurance. You will need to know if you can obtain coverage for yourself through your present or future employment. You may be able to obtain COBRA or carryover insurance if you are covered under your spouse's insurance. This type of coverage is available for 36 months after the divorce in some circumstances. You will need to know the cost of this insurance if it is available, as you will have to pay this cost.

4. What will you do about debts and credit cards?

You should be sure that you have one or more major credit cards in your name only. You should also know what credit cards and other debts you are liable for to the creditors. You need to get a copy of your credit report and review it carefully so you are aware of all credit accounts in your name.

5. Do you have a complete financial picture?
Besides the information discussed previously, you need to know about every asset you and/or your spouse own. This includes: any real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, life insurance, timeshares, vehicles (including loans), any other property with wheels, trailers, boats, motorcycles, RVs, ATVs., and any other property.

You need to collect any documents you can on all of the assets and debts. You should be familiar with these documents and should have copies for yourself. When you consult with a lawyer, the lawyer will need this information. This includes how the assets are titled as well, such as jointly or individually. If you have a trust, you also need to be sure that you have a copy, including any exhibits that list the assets of the trust.

by: Sandra Tedlock