Texas readers who are considering divorce may wish to organize their financial lives before making any other moves. Years of shared finances may create some surprises as the divorce process begins, so it may be in the best interests of both parties to carefully organize before formally initiating the proceedings.
If the situation appears to be a contentious one, it may be wise to collect and copy all relevant financial documents, and leave them with a trusted person or keep them in a safety deposit box. This simple act can save a great deal of time and unpleasantness if things later become difficult. Credit ratings are another issue to check on before filing for divorce. Years of shared credit can make it difficult for a stay-at-home parent or lower wage earner to function independently.
Being able to function independently also brings up the issue of separate credit card and bank accounts. It's fairly easy to set up separate savings and checking accounts, but credit cards can be a bit trickier if one of the spouses relies heavily on shared household income for the majority of his or her support. Therefore, it is generally best to apply for separate accounts well ahead of the divorce.
Divorce often isn't just a couple going their separate ways. There are often complicated financial issues to consider that require carefully created solutions that are fair to both parties in the case. It is usually wise to consider the entire financial picture and avoid allowing emotions to cloud judgment. Generally, making decisions based on financial realities serves everyone better in the long run and allows for both parties to receive the opportunity for productive and a fair fresh start.
Source: Forbes, "Six Steps To Financial Spring Cleaning For Divorce", Jeff Landers, April 01, 2014