Women in this country have taken great steps towards independence and fiscal independence, but some say that women are still kept in the dark by their spouse regarding their financial situation.
One component of the divorce process is figuring out how you’re going to pay your bills until your settlement is finalized. This can be one of the most difficult parts of divorce, which affects couples at all income levels but can be especially difficult in high net worth divorces.
It is imperative to plan for how much money you’ll need to live on for the duration of your divorce as well as for how much you’ll need to pay your legal team. This can be especially difficult where the couple one spouse earns more than the other and also controls family finances. Not being aware of financial circumstances can give your spouse the ability to play games and possibly hide money.
If you’re contemplating filing for divorce or you think your spouse is going to file for divorce, planning for your financial needs is something you should be thinking about. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to obtain a favorable settlement if you feel that you are not on equal financial footing with your spouse.
Source: Forbes, “When Can You Withdraw Funds From Joint Accounts?“, Jeff Landers, September 17, 2013
How to Plan for Your Divorce
Once you make the decision to get a divorce, you may be left wondering how to move forward. Illinois law provides that the couple’s assets are to be divided equitably (not equally) and being prepared can make all the difference.
Before you submit to any agreement regarding property division, you should be sure to gather all pertinent documents. These documents should include: tax records, insurance policies, records from brokerage and retirement accounts, leases or mortgage documents, trust agreements, living wills, and powers of attorney. Also gather all documents that specifically identify your accounts and the accounts of your spouse.
You should also open your own checking, savings, and credit card accounts and route your direct deposit into your individual account. If you have joint credit cards, notify those companies and have your name or your spouse’s name removed from the account. You should also consider opening an escrow or joint account for funds to pay family expenses during your divorce.
Child support should be established in addition to a plan for how you will pay for healthcare and college costs, if applicable.
A decision needs to be made as to who will keep the house. The house can be the most sizeable asset of a marriage, but it comes with additional liabilities. Retirement accounts can also be one of the sizeable assets of the marriage and have to be negotiated.
Working with an experienced attorney, especially during the planning process, is a valuable resource that will enable you to understand the far-reaching effects of your settlement.
When Christo and Sharlene Lassiter wed in 1986, they never expected to have divorce-related legal battles lasting seven years longer than their ten year marriage. Christo Lassiter is a law professor at University of Cincinatti and Sharlene Lassiter n/k/a Sharlene Boltz is a law professor at Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law, which has led to criticism from attorneys and judges. The lawsuit had over 1,400 filings, which is far in excess of the number of filings in a typical divorce case if there is even such a thing. Every couple and every case is different and there’s no way of telling how long divorce-related proceedings will last. This particular case involved repeated violations of court rules, several calls to police, and both parties having and losing custody of their two children, all of which played a role in extending the duration of the obviously contentious litigation. There have been calls for the two law professors, who should each be well versed in the court’s rules, to be sanctioned by the State Bar of Ohio for their behavior. However, each party has the right to pursue his or her rights and do what they feel is right for their family. While you should do your best to limit your children’s exposure to ongoing divorce proceedings and act civilly, there is sometimes no way to limit the length of proceedings and still do what you feel is right for your family.