If a person makes a decision to go ahead with a divorce, one of the first steps might be to open individual accounts and close any joint accounts. This may prevent one spouse from moving all the money out of a shared account or running up credit card debt. Spouses may want to remove one another from accounts where they have been added as a user but might want to keep one joint account open to handle expenses for children or other costs for which they are jointly responsible. All assets must be documented, including information on real estate purchases and retirement accounts. A divorce financial analyst may be able to assist in finding any hidden assets or with other financial issues. If there are homes, vehicles or other property that is jointly owned, both names should be on the titles.
People may want to educate themselves about divorce and financial matters. They might also want to create a financial plan and a budget for the post-divorce lifestyle. Another consideration is revising the estate plan. This could include creating a new will and updating beneficiary designations.
An attorney may be able to assist a person in planning when these steps should be taken. A high-asset divorce could involve a complex and lengthy process of property division. For example, a couple might have investments and real estate, and one or both spouses might have a significant number of retirement savings. If they own a business together, they may need to decide whether to sell it or continue running it. One spouse may also choose to buy out the other.