If you are getting divorced in Pennsylvania, a good first move would be to hire an experienced Pittsburgh divorce attorney. Doing so would take a lot of the pressure off of you, since a professional will be able to handle many of the details of the process, and guide you through many of the things that you need to do.
Even with a good team on your side, though, there are still things that you need to do that can’t be done for you. One of those is taking charge of your personal finances, especially if that has not been part of your role in the past. Financially, as well as in many other ways, things are going to change significantly after a divorce. For almost everyone, the hard fact is that they are not going to be able to afford to live at the same level of lifestyle as they were when they were married.
The second part of the need to take charge of personal finances is that during the divorce process, assets are going to move around. Some may get spent. Some may get sold. Even if you are unable to prevent these moves by your spouse, you should be aware of them so that they can become part of a fair property division. Once the property division is finished, it will probably be too late to start asking questions about assets that weren’t part of the original discussion.
Most Pittsburgh divorce lawyers recommend keeping an eye on joint bank accounts. If money is disappearing from them, the amounts should be noted and made part of the property division. Also, non-traditional assets should be accounted for, such as frequent flyer miles and time shares. Past tax returns should be examined for errors or fraudulent claims. Finally, taking out life insurance policies on spouses who will be paying support is something that should happen sooner rather than later.
During a divorce, with all of the emotional burdens that come with the process, no one wants to take on new responsibilities. For the sake of the future, though, it is going to be necessary to be very hands-on with finances, right away.
Source: Chicago Tribune “Be the CEO of your divorce” Aug. 23, 2011