No one looks forward to getting divorced. You may have decided it’s the best option for your mental health, your children, and your future, but it’s still a gut-wrenching decision to make. Now, with COVID-19 drastically altering our way of life, you may be facing financial hardship. So, should you “hang in there” and ride out the virus with your spouse, or should you move forward with a divorce?
Before you make up your mind to file for divorce during COVID-19, you should consider how a divorce can impact your finances. Even if you and your spouse mutually believe you’d be better apart, it may not be the best time to pursue a legal dissolution of your marriage. Pre-divorce planning can help you understand the financial implications of a divorce if you’re considering one in the future.
Proper Planning Now to Relieve Your Stress Later
Before discussing pre-divorce planning at all, it’s important to acknowledge that there are certain tactics and strategies you legally must avoid. Sometimes when someone is planning to leave a marriage they will, for example, try to set aside assets in their own bank account. They may hide some of their income or assets if they plan to be divorced soon because they don’t want their spouse to get those assets in the divorce. This is not legally allowed, and the punishment for being deceptive about your assets can be severe. Instead of being tempted to take this path, contact a divorce attorney in St. Paul who can help you legally and equitably divide your assets.
If you and your spouse are on the same page and both want to get divorced, you may be able to plan things so that neither of you will suffer an immense financial burden when your marriage ends. Divorces are never good for your personal finances; that part is unavoidable. However, here are some things you should consider if you want to have the best shot at avoiding financial hardship during and after your divorce.
Pay Off Your Credit Card and Tax Debts
If you have a lot of credit card debt with your spouse, you may want to consider paying it off before your divorce. If both you and your spouse have an income, combining your extra earnings can help you pay less in credit card interest over time. If you don’t get it paid off before your divorce, you may be responsible for making the minimum payment every month – an expense that may be harder to budget for with a single income.
In the event that you’ve been filing taxes jointly and still owe the IRS, you should try to get that debt paid in full prior to your divorce. Since the debt is shared between you and your spouse, you’ll both be on the hook for it until it’s been paid – even if you’re in the middle of a divorce. By paying off your tax debt, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Make Sure Your Job is Secure
With all that’s happening in the world as a result of COVID-19, it’s quite possible that some Americans will be furloughed or laid off from their jobs. One of the most important aspects of a divorce is having a clear understanding of both spouses’ incomes and earning potentials, in addition to the existing marital assets. Therefore, if you or your spouse are currently out of work or anticipate a layoff, you should consider how that will affect your divorce if you choose to proceed with it. Spousal maintenance payments may come into play, which can put an additional burden on the paying spouse.
Of course, you shouldn’t let this dissuade you from filing for divorce if you’re in an unhappy or violent marriage. The right family lawyer in St. Paul can help you overcome issues that arise from a layoff during your divorce.
Boost Your Credit Score
If there’s anything you can do to boost your credit, now’s the time to do it. Divorces are notorious for dropping credit scores (sometimes drastically), so you want to get it as high as possible before filing. Do you have a late payment you could get removed from your credit history? Can you ask for an increase in your credit limits? Get creative when thinking about how you may be able to revamp your credit score.
Pre-Divorce Planning During a Pandemic
Our St. Paul divorce law firm is made up of attorneys and paralegals whose primary concern is getting you the best outcome to your divorce – financially and otherwise. We want you to reach a fair and equitable divorce agreement, and we’re prepared to have as many (digital) meetings with you as it takes! In this particularly stressful time, our team’s mindful family law approach can be especially helpful to our clients. We’ll work to ease your mind while helping you discover the best approach to your potential divorce. Contact us through our website or by calling us at 651-294-2407.