If you are facing divorce, remember that any financial mistakes you make could be costly.
Here are five tips to help you manage your finances and avoid potentially expensive missteps.
Monitor your expenses
Track your income and expenses. Write everything down and present the results to your divorce attorney while keeping copies for yourself. The record should include such expenses as food, household bills, clothing, entertainment, transportation costs and childcare. You can use your bank statements and credit card bills to help in estimating your expenses for the past year.
Collect necessary records
Pull together your financial documents, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit card and investment information. List your marital assets and debts and any that are yours alone.
Avoid financial decision-making
Do not make any big financial decisions ahead of the divorce, and especially if you have already filed or you could face criminal contempt charges.
Do not go on a spending spree with your credit card and do not deplete a joint checking account. You can continue to use your accounts but do so conservatively. Your divorce attorney can provide guidelines for spending money during the divorce process.
Think over your options
If you are still in the preliminary stages of ending your marriage, consider your divorce options. Depending on the relationship you have with your spouse—amicable or acrimonious, for example—you can choose traditional litigation in court, mediation or collaborative divorce outside of court. Think over your options and be sure to avoid making any decisions that will be financially harmful.