Divorce is never cheap. Proper planning, however, can reduce the negative effect divorce has on your finances, and it’s an essential part of moving forward with your life following a marital split.

Here are some steps to take to make sure that you’re handling your finances as well as possible:

  • Work out what you own: List all your assets and their values. If you are unsure about the worth of specific items, have an expert value them. Ask your spouse for copies of the details of any joint finances they control. If they refuse, you may be able to request them with a court order.
  • Add up your debt: Divorce may be the ideal time to sell assets and use it to pay off debts. Remember, you must also divide debts in a divorce. The more you can reduce them, the cleaner a break you can make.
  • Note down your expenses: Create a spreadsheet on which you list all outgoings. Be sure to recheck it regularly to ensure you have not missed something. You may be surprised at how much you spend and realize how you can save money on in the future.
  • Calculate your future needs: Remember, outgoings can change. If your children are teenagers, make sure you budget for college fees. If you are close to retirement, consider how your loss of earnings will change the situation. Without an accurate assessment of your current and future budget, you cannot negotiate the divorce settlement you need.
  • Separate your bank accounts and cards from your spouse: If you do not, you will still be tied to your spouse after divorce and could be held responsible for their spending. Close joint accounts and replace them with separate ones.

It is easy to make mistakes or forget things when in the middle of a divorce. Seek legal help to ensure you do not leave yourself at a financial disadvantage.