Preparing for Divorce

Preparing for Divorce

Getting Organized

In addition to an already emotional or stressful experience, the financial components of separation and divorce can be daunting. Obtaining education and information can help illuminate your optimal path, either through online research or a trusted expert.

“One piece of advice I would suggest, don't be afraid to ask as many questions you can think of, and keep asking until you feel like you are making an informed decision. There's no question you can't ask us, we're here to help.” - Monica Dugan, Branch Manager, TD Ameritrade, Boston.

Determine the type of divorce you are pursuing (litigation, mediation, or collaborative) through library and online research. An attorney or divorce specialist can guide you through the entire process. Depending on your circumstances, you may be involved in an uncontested or summary divorce, depending on factors including state laws.

Here are key considerations:

  • Create a budget to adhere to during the divorce.
  • Compile financial documents and make copies for your attorney – including bank statements and tax returns(filed separately or jointly).
  • Conduct an inventory of marital assets.
  • Review contents of safety deposit boxes.
  • Determine the cost of supporting two homes.
  • Ensure alimony and/or child support in the event of the premature death or disability of your spouse.
  • Determine medical expenses and incidental items such as summer camps and activities.
  • Analyze debt: mortgage, education, car loans, credit cards, current credit reports.
  • Evaluate long-term goals, such as college savings and retirement plans.
  • Review and update beneficiary designations.
  • Evaluate your tax filing status. How will you handle your tax return? It may depend on the timing of your divorce proceedings.
  • Establish separate credit.
  • Look to both your and your spouse's liabilities and determine whether you will be able to pay outstanding debts on assets you keep.
  • Review employee benefits that apply to both you and your spouse.
  • Have your attorney review any documents before signing.

Prepare Your Family For The Future

If your divorce decree provides a payout, will a qualified domestic relations order be used? A domestic relations order is a judgment, decree or order such as an approved property settlement relating to the provision of child support, alimony or property for a spouse, former spouse, or dependent. Conduct an inventory of marital assets.

“We have to take a look at the new financial picture. With only one income, the financial picture may look very different, which may require changing one's portfolio.” - Monica Dugan, TD Ameritrade Branch Manager, Boston, MA.

TIP: Determine if You Can Afford the Home You Maintained with Your Spouse.


Will you retain the home? Consider the costs and your ability to maintain the home; if necessary, look at the alternative living options and how you will sell or rent the home.

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