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Financial Steps To Take Before Filing For Divorce

When faced with a failing marriage, people often wonder how divorcing will affect them financially and whether they can make it on their own. However, people thinking of divorce can take some steps to put themselves in a better financial position for their life afterward.

Collect Documents

When considering filing for divorce, a person should begin collecting copies of important financial documents. People will need these papers for a variety of purposes, including the division of marital property and consideration of spousal support. People should secure copies of such things as:

  • Bank account numbers and statements
  • Investment account numbers and statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Mortgage documents
  • Auto loan documents
  • Any deeds or titles to property
  • School and medical records of children
  • Social Security cards

After a person has gathered these papers, he or she should place them in a secure area such as a safe deposit box.

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Understand Family Finances

Knowledge about money is key to securing a just property settlement. Before a person files for divorce, he or she should have an accurate picture of the family’s financial situation. A person should assess all of the family’s assets and liabilities, as well as the monthly expenses such as mortgage payments, utilities, food, transportation costs, tuition, insurance and other regular expenditures. After doing so, it will be clearer how much a person will have to pay each month to live on his or her own after a divorce. The assessment may also give a person some ideas about how he or she could cut spending, if necessary.

Knowing one’s own earning potential as well as one’s spouse’s earning potential is also a pivotal part of looking at the family’s finances. If one of the spouses potentially could be earning a great deal more money in the future, it will affect different aspects of the financial settlement, such as property division and spousal support.

Protect Credit

It is wise for people to check their credit reports before filing for divorce. Not only does this refresh a person’s memory about all of the joint accounts the spouses have open, it can help alert a person if his or her spouse has engaged in covert spending. Continuous monitoring of credit is also wise, as some spouses may engage in retaliatory spending when they hear the news that their spouses want to divorce.

Contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney for more information if you are considering getting divorced.

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