For a variety of reasons, studies have shown that January sees more divorce filings than any other month1. If you are planning to divorce in 2016, here are the four things you can do to make the process go more smoothly and save yourself some money.
Gather Year-End Financial Documents
Now is the time when all of the year-end financial statements from your various investment accounts, retirement plans, pensions, and life insurance policies should be arriving. Scan these or leave a copy with a friend or trusted advisor. Email us if you want a copy of our financial checklist document so you’ll know what to look out for in the mail.
Get a Credit Report
While this may not be something you paid a lot of attention to in the past, having a good credit report will become necessary the minute you start applying for loans/leases, etc. in just your name. Cleaning up an erroneous credit report or even improving your credit score can take time so start the process now.
Build your Team
In order to maximize the odds of a successful divorce (from a financial perspective) you will need the following members on your team:
- A divorce attorney
- A financial advisor
- A CPA
This team will work together on your behalf to assess your current financial situation, analyze your options, and negotiate a preferential agreement that will serve you for the rest of your life. Now is not the time to “wing it” or settle for a team full of B players. You need A+ players on the team so you can win!
Expect the Unexpected
Every client I have ever worked with that was going through a divorce was surprised at how long the process took, how much the legal fees were, and how many surprises came up. I’ve seen cases where a spouse planned ahead for years for an impending divorce and did everything from hiding assets to artificially making his business look unprofitable, all with the goal of giving his ex-wife as little as possible in the divorce settlement. Fortunately for her, she had a team of A+ players on her side, and we helped her negotiate a settlement that will allow her to maintain her current lifestyle for the rest of her life.
If a divorce is on the horizon in 2016, start the process today by sending us an email or giving us a call. We can act as your financial quarterback and recommend divorce attorneys and CPAs for you to interview as well.
Robert Cucchiaro is a Certified Financial Planner and a registered tax preparer. He is a Partner and owner of Summit Wealth & Retirement, a financial planning firm that has been serving Danville for 30 years. Rob specializes in retirement, investment, tax, and estate planning. www.summitwealthandretirement.com