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Getting finances in order before a divorce

Many people in Michigan understand the importance of planning ahead for a wedding, but few may realize the potentially devastating consequences of failing to plan when a marriage is ending. While divorce is usually a complicated and emotional matter, it may be even more so for those who have been married long enough for their finances to become entangled. When this is the case, careful preparation may mean a more positive financial future.

If a couple does not already keep track of spending, the hint of divorce may provide the incentive to do so. Not only will this help one anticipate a post-divorce budget, but it will provide information for the court when the time comes to divide assets and determine support amounts. Tracking spending should include daily expenses like bills and groceries, as well as spending for household repairs and holidays.

Marriage advisors recommend that divorcing spouses refrain from making any major financial decisions or purchases. Meanwhile, one of the first things divorcing spouses are encouraged to do is to gather as much of the marriage's financial documentation as possible. This includes bank and retirement accounts, investments, tax returns, debt and proof of income. Many spouses are reluctant to share this information after divorce papers have been filed, so gathering the information beforehand may be necessary.

Friends and family may wish to offer advice, but acting on questionable information could damage one's chances for positive results in court. Because divorce laws vary from state to state, seeking counsel from someone who is well-versed in Michigan divorce law will provide a decided advantage to a resident of the state. An attorney with decades of experience will focus on acting with the client's best interests in mind.

Source: USA Today, "7 ways to ready your finances for divorce", Elizabeth Renter, May 31, 2017

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