A new year is coming up, and many of us start the year intending to make a fresh start or work toward some new goals. This spirit often carries over into marriages, or rather, the end of them.
Many divorces are filed in January. People who are unhappy in marriages may decide to put divorce off until after the holidays to keep the peace. They might also not want to be known as someone who started a divorce over the holidays.
Additionally, the holiday season sometimes brings a sense of hope, which could include the hope of salvaging a marriage. But when the season is over, the same old feelings may remain, leading to a divorce filing.
National divorce day
The January divorce phenomenon is so well-known by this point that there is now a “national divorce day.” The day is the first working Monday of the new year.
Whether you are planning to file for divorce or are in a failing marriage and worried that your spouse may file, preparation is important.
Getting divorced is a major process, both legally, financially and emotionally. The divorce process in Hawaii involves mountains of paperwork. You must divide your marital property, figure out custody if you have children and focus on starting a new life without your spouse.
Handling these tasks is difficult when you are dealing with the emotions that come with separating from your spouse, but there are some steps you can take to be ready.
Get a clear picture of your financial situation
Gather your financial information. You need to know where you stand financially so you make the right decisions when dividing marital assets and debts.
Make a list of all the assets you own. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts and personal property. Do the same with debts. Obtain an estimated value of the assets and current balances of the debts.
Protect your financial accounts. We’ve probably all heard stories about a spouse draining bank accounts before or during a divorce.
If you fear this happening to you, open a new bank account in your own name. Take half the money in any joint accounts and put it into your new separate account.
You do not need to hide doing this from your spouse. In fact, you should tell them to avoid being accused of trying to hide marital funds yourself. Do not spend the money, or if you do, be prepared to account for everything you spend.
Gather income information
Get copies of some recent paystubs and last year’s tax return. At some point, you are likely going to need to show documentation of your income, particularly if your divorce involves child support or spousal support.
If you are self-employed, providing an accurate picture of your income might be more difficult. Have financial business statements or bank statements ready.
Prepare for your life after divorce. Most people must adjust to living on a lower income for a while after divorce. Start budgeting and calculating your monthly expenses. Revise where necessary.
Knowing this information ahead of time will impact how you negotiate your divorce resolution and give you an idea of what to argue for if your case goes to court.