While divorce is never a pleasant experience, being self-employed makes matters a lot more stressful and complex. While there are huge emotional worries, you must ensure that you take the necessary steps to protect your financial interests. You must put in place a very sound and comprehensive strategy to ensure that you can keep your business. It is important to create this strategy when you are level headed and when you won't make decisions that are influenced by emotion. This article outlines some steps you should take if you are self-employed and getting a divorce.
Just like tax season, when you are getting divorced, you must be extremely well organised and have all the necessary documents in your possession. Collect all types of financial documents such as bank statements, loans, savings accounts, investment accounts etc. You need to aggregate your assets and liabilities as best you can so that you know exactly what your overall financial situation is. As a result of being well organised, you will not be surprised by anything unexpected.
Aggregate the Information
Once you have everything organised and in one place, you can prepare yourself for every conceivable question the opposing divorce lawyer may ask you. You will be asked some very tough questions and told to fill out numerous financial related documents. You effectively have to write down your entire financial life. Types of question include asking about the balance in certain accounts, what interest rates are on certain accounts and what structure your business is set up as. Probably the most vital thing you need to know is which names are on the accounts; are they joint or individual etc. These steps are vital to ensure that your business is protected.
Separate Any Joint Accounts
You must separate any accounts that are jointly held with your spouse. This ensures that they will not do anything untoward such as draining your business account. In the case of a joint mortgage, if your spouse doesn't make the necessary payments, the bank will end up coming after you. In order to remove your name, you either agree to have the house sold or obtain a new mortgage in one of your names.
Ensure That You Are Protected
Open a new bank account under your name and ensure that there are no mistakes on your credit report. Ensure that you fight any aspect of the divorce that you disagree with before you have signed the final papers, as it is extremely rare to be able to change terms afterwards. Finally, keep a paper trail of all discussions and agreements that were made during negotiations etc., as verbal agreements will not stand up in court normally.
While it still won't be easy to get through your divorce, these steps will help ease some of the stress and anxiety related to it, particularly if you are self-employed. For more information, contact a local attorney that specializes in family law.