How to Save Time (and Money) When Preparing for Divorce

Taking certain steps may help people save time and conserve funds as they get ready to divorce. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 to 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. Making the difficult decision to split only starts the ball rolling, however. Couples must settle a range of matters when separating their finances and lives, which may be time-consuming and costly.

Making the Divorce Process as Smooth as Possible

Even with little discord, it takes time for couples to finalize their divorces. Using the following tips may help expedite the divorce process, helping to save people money as they make this type of drastic life change.

How to Save Time (and Money) When Preparing for Divorce

1. Write Things Down

As people consider getting divorced, they may benefit from writing down important information, such as when and how much they and their spouses get paid. The information they write down may include things not normally considered as income, including hotel points, airline miles, bonuses, deferred compensation, and interest payments from invested income, rental properties, or other business ventures. It may also help people to keep a journal of their interactions with their soon-to-be former spouses.

2. Get Documentation in Order

Having their documentation in order ahead of time may help cut down on the reminders from and appointments with their attorneys that people need. People’s divorce lawyers and the court may require personal and financial documentation such as bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, loan ledgers, retirement account statements, and investment account statements. Since Nevada is a community property state, each spouse may be entitled to equal portions of their shared assets.

3. Create and Use a Budget

If not doing so already, those preparing for a divorce should track their household expenses using a budget. Keeping track of expenses such as household bills, home maintenance, childcare, transportation, food, clothing, and such spending may help divorce lawyers and family law judges determine how to divide a couple’s shared property and debts.

4. Wait to Make Big Financial Decisions or Changes

The divorce process may seem like the right time to make changes to retirement accounts, wills, beneficiaries, and other such documents. Doing so may result in adverse decisions in Court if they have already filed for divorce, or it may alter how a judge decides to split the couple’s shared property.

Kimberly Surratt served for eight years on the executive council and has been the vice chair and then chair of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Nevada Justice Association and the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004.

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