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For couples who are filing for divorce in Pennsylvania and across the United States, the process can be taxing both emotionally and financially. Amid the upheaval of divorce, couples should be proactive about preparing themselves financially now and in the future.

Once a couple knows that divorce is imminent, they should begin tracking their regular income and expenses. Household bills, home maintenance, child-related expenses, transportation, and other recurring bills should be taken into consideration. It’s advisable for each individual to account for extra one-time expenses that may arise within the future such as holiday trips and vacations, too.

Spouses who share financial accounts should gather necessary documentation as soon as possible. Documentation of tax returns, checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, credit card statements, investment accounts, and other joint financial accounts should be gathered. A list of all assets and debts that were accumulated during the marriage should also be included.

While it might be tempting for couples to make major financial changes prior to the divorce process, it may be best to wait. Changes to wills, retirement accounts, life insurance beneficiaries, and other financial changes will be settled during legal proceedings.

Separating joint finances can be a tricky process, and couples should refrain from splitting any income, debts, and assets prior to filing for separation or divorce. Since every divorce is unique, individuals who are separating from their spouses may benefit from consulting with a licensed divorce attorney to help prepare their finances. By paying attention to the special circumstances surrounding a couple’s marriage and separation, an experienced divorce attorney may be able to help negotiate and mediate to create an action plan that protects an individual’s financial assets.