Unlike other states that have a formal legal process when it comes to the separation of a marriage, Florida is a state that doesn’t have a formal procedure for this interim status. Rather, in Florida a couple is technically considered married until they are officially divorced. With this unique situation in Florida, it’s essential to take certain steps to financially protect yourself as soon as you are able to. In this article we will discuss some ways you can organize your finances during a separation, protect your assets, and optimize the divorce process if you choose to move forwards, while you are separated.
Tips For Organizing Your Finances When Getting Separated
Here are some recommendations from experienced divorce attorneys on how to protect your finances and optimize future divorce proceedings:
- Come up with a new budget: Even if you choose to still reside in the same home, your finances will still be impacted by the separation. Create a thorough, honest analysis of your expenses and your income, and account for both the long and short term. Moreover, you should remember that a separation may also cause new expenses that you didn’t previously have to pay such as health insurance, sole responsibility for utilities, and changes in childcare.
- Get everything in writing: Even if your separation is extremely congenial, it’s still key to document every agreement between your spouse and yourself. While it’s not necessary to ask for everything in formal writing (which is also fine if you prefer), if you agree to something verbally in casual conversation, it’s essential to follow up with an email so you have traceable confirmation of the specifics of your agreement. These kinds of agreements are not enforceable as a contract, but helps to ensure you understand the commitment that you’ve made and may be helpful in the future if disputes arise.
- Draw an inventory: Most people think about the things that they own when they think about the division of marital property. However, you share debts as much as you share assets, so make sure to account for any debts you’ve accumulated throughout the marriage. As soon as you can, start creating a detailed accounting of your finances and make a list of accounts that are joint with your spouse, joint with someone else, and in your name only. Remember to also take down the kid’s college accounts, savings accounts, 401Ks, and even your Venmo or Zelle accounts. Plus, list all your liabilities like credit cards and mortgages. Make sure to include both the date of acquisition of the property, where the liabilities and assets are located, what the current valuation is, and any other pieces of relevant information.
Contact Us Today
A separation doesn’t just change your personal relationship status, it also impacts the status of your finances and how they work. Depending on how the future plays out, the separation could continue to impact them significantly for a long time down the road. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself and get organized as soon as possible by getting prepared. If you are considering divorce and in need of an experienced divorce attorney with a proven track record, call Swickle & Associates to schedule a consultation today.