My Spouse Just Asked For a Divorce – What Do I Do? – Part 2
6-10: The Financial Stuff.
Financial issues are often the main cause of stress during a divorce. Your household and income is now split in two and how are you going to pay the bills? Do not worry, it will not be easy, but it is doable.
In part two of this blog, I identify the main areas of financial concern and how to best to financially prepare for a divorce.
6. Do not drain the bank accounts. Nevada is a community property state and all funds are presumed to be community. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on how to divide bank accounts, that is a first step in the right direction to an amicable divorce. If not, status quo until a Court Orders otherwise. If your spouse drained the accounts or is racking up credit card debt, I highly recommend consulting with an attorney and filing for divorce immediately. There are court orders you can obtain to help protect your finances right at the beginning of a divorce action.
7. Pay the bills and support your spouse. All bills still need to get paid and if you are the breadwinner, it is your responsibility to pay those bills and continue to support your spouse. This is not permanent and finances will change once the divorce is final, but you are married until divorced in Nevada, so the community (yes that means your income) needs to pay the bills and support your spouse. If possible, it is good to have a conversation with your spouse as to how bills are going to get paid and from what source. Again, if you cannot reach an agreement on those issues, an attorney and the courts are there to help.
8. Consult with an accountant or tax attorney. Divorce often carries with it many tax implications and it is important to know those potential tax implications before reaching a divorce settlement. Often times the accountant or tax attorney can work with your family law attorney to determine the best financial options for you.
9. Do Not Sell or get rid of anything unless you and your spouse agree. Do not go buy a new car or sell your spouses’ stuff out of spite. It will come back to bite you. The best bet is to always maintain status quo until it is agreed or the Court Orders otherwise. Note that if you agree to sell something or divide finances, put it in writing. Often people are able to reach agreements during the separation and divorce process, but if you do, put it in writing. Even if it is as simple as a text message, get it in writing. I often see people reach agreements, one spouse gets upset, and then all of a sudden, there is no more agreement and you are now facing scrutiny from the court for your actions.
10. Consult with a family law attorney. Attorney’s are expensive and the cost of a divorce can be daunting. However, all attorneys offer consults, most for a fee. Take advantage of this service and pay for the consult and get your hour of legal advice even if you cannot afford them. You may not like everything they have to say and divorce law may often seem “unfair”, but educating yourself on Nevada divorce law (even if you disagree) is invaluable as you continue to navigate through the divorce process. Also know that you have the right to use community funds to pay for attorney fees, but know that your spouse has the same right and the Court will likely award your spouse the right to access and use the same amount of community funds you used to pay to your attorney. This includes the right to charge attorney’s fees on credit cards.
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