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Divorce: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

When it comes to divorce, a significant portion of the negotiation and stress centers on issues related to money. For Colorado couples preparing to divorce, the first step toward determining your financial future is understanding your financial present.

In order to get an accurate assessment of your current finances, make a complete audit of all accounts, from bank accounts to credit card balances to utility bills. By building a complete picture of your finances, you can best determine your negotiating strategy during the divorce proceedings, as well as create a focused budget for your post-divorce future.

Once you have an idea of where you stand in terms of current assets, it is time to look ahead and work out an estimated budget for future expenses. Work out what it will cost to maintain a home and pay for any debt that was shared during the marriage but may be divided in the divorce. In addition, it is imperative to budget for the care of any children in your family.

When the divorce is final, it is time to ensure that any loose ends are wrapped up. Be sure to remove your name from any shared accounts that you will no longer be responsible for, and make sure that any new or continuing accounts list only yourself as the responsible or authorized party. This is also the time to think about the beneficiaries on any life insurance policies, as you will likely want to remove your ex-spouse from receiving benefits in the event of your death.

As any marriage comes to an end, there is a period of great challenge and change. However, it is also important for Colorado spouses to keep in mind that the end of this chapter in life makes room for the next, and whatever opportunities it may hold. By ensuring that your financial health is intact and your future needs are planned for, moving forward after a divorce can involve a smooth transition.

Source: USA Today Money, "Before divorce, you should get financially prepared," Hadley Malcolm, Sept. 9, 2012

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