Kansas couples should know that the best time to plan for the end of a marriage is well before the start of trouble. Waiting until a divorce action is filed to think about money can leave spouses in financial jeopardy that reduces their negotiating power and hampers their ability to successfully transition to post-divorce life.
A good first step toward financial independence is keeping a personal banking account. Full disclosure is required to avoid the appearance of hiding marital assets, but keeping an individual account can allow a spouse considering divorce to more easily save and control funds needed for future legal and living expenses. A good rule of thumb is having at least three months of living expenses plus the cost of an initial retainer on hand before filing for divorce. Another consideration is a plan for income if there is a disparity in earnings or if one spouse has been out of the workforce for some time. Planning for the future by acquiring job training prior to divorce is prudent because alimony standards are evolving as long-term spousal support becomes less common.
A clear picture of marital finances is key to any divorce settlement. Requesting credit reports for both parties prior to filing can alert spouses to unknown credit accounts and the status of marital debts. Knowing the value of all retirement and investment accounts is another important factor in getting an equitable division of joint assets. If valuable personal property is subject to destruction or removal by a volatile spouse, it should be secured but not liquidated until a court approves. Confidential communications are important in the midst of divorce, so getting a post office box or other secure mailing address for banking and legal correspondence is a prudent move for anyone considering divorce.
The decision to end a marriage is rarely easy, and financial considerations can complicate decisions and extend unhappy marriages. A qualified divorce lawyer may help plan a financial exit strategy for anyone considering divorce.