In Illinois, people who want to end their marriages can make the process easier by taking steps to financially prepare. Taking certain actions before filing a divorce petition might help to save time, money and headaches.
Gathering the right documents
When people want to get divorced, they should begin by gathering their important financial documents. It is much easier to gather documents before a petition is filed instead of waiting and asking an estranged spouse to gather and disclose them. Some of the documents that should be gathered and copied include the following:
- Income tax returns for three years
- W-2s for both spouses
- Most recent retirement account statements for both spouses
- Investment account statements
- Deeds and titles
- Bank account statements
- Social Security statements
- Credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies
- Loan and credit card statements
After copying these documents, people should store the copies in a safe place away from the home, such as a safety deposit box at a bank. These documents will be needed after the divorce petition is filed.
Taking other financial steps
Untangling finances can be a difficult process when people want to divorce. They should review any jointly held debts and try to either pay them off in full or get their names off of them if possible. A spouse should also open a separate bank account in his or her name only and update the direct deposit information at work so that the checks will be deposited to the new account instead of the joint account.
People should also start saving money ahead of time to afford the costs of divorce. Meeting with a financial adviser before filing for divorce may be a good idea. An adviser might help them understand the divorce’s financial impact and help them create a budget for life after the divorce is final.
Taking the time to prepare before filing for divorce might help the process go faster and smoother. Working with an experienced divorce attorney may also help to facilitate a divorce agreement through careful negotiations with the other spouse.