If you are an Illinois resident who is about to begin divorce negotiations, you should take steps to protect your financial interests. Going into the negotiations knowing your financial situation and with clear post-divorce goals can help you achieve a fair settlement.
Knowledge is key
The first step towards protecting your financial interests during divorce is knowing and understanding what those interests are. You should identify and tabulate all the assets you own, including:
- Pay stubs
- Bank and investment accounts
- Retirement accounts, pensions and insurance policies
- Real estate, vehicles and jewelry
- Business interests
Once you identify all your assets, you should also gather documents related to these assets. You should also list and document your total debt.
Begin separating your financial life
If your savings accounts are joint, you will want to open an individual one. This is in preparation for your financial well-being after the divorce. You can also withdraw half of your joint savings to deposit into your individual account, particularly if you fear your spouse might use the money to keep it from you. At the same time, you should also be honest about what you are doing and advise your spouse that you have opened an individual account and withdrawn your part of the marital savings.
Build your divorce support team
Depending on the relationship you have with your spouse and the type of divorce you are anticipating, you will need to build a support team. This can include a lawyer, particularly if you are anticipating conflicts or possible litigation. You might also include a forensic accountant and other financial specialists, particularly if you have business interests or will have a high-asset divorce.
How much you can protect your financial interests during divorce will impact your financial stability post-divorce. You should not make rushed, emotional decisions during the process, and these can be avoided when you are well-prepared.