Ringing in a new life in the new year

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, December 8, 2011

According to the songs, the Christmas holiday season is the happiest, most wonderful time of year. While that might be true for kids dreaming of toys, it’s typically not the case with parents facing divorce.

Many parents planning on divorcing wait until after the holidays are over before they begin tackling difficult and often emotional child custody questions. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, more divorces are filed in January than any other month.

People want to ring in a new life in a new year.

Forbes columnist Jeff Landers offers financial advice to women going through divorce, but his advice often applies just as well to men. Landers writes that there are a number of things to do before heading to the courthouse in 2012:

  • Collect financial documents. The end of the year typically means a mailbox full of annual statements from credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions. Make copies of all of those documents and keep them in a safe place (Landers recommends a safe deposit box or a trusted family member or friend).
  • Credit check. Be sure to get a credit report before you file for divorce. After you’ve seen the report, copy it and then regularly monitor it for any unusual activity.
  • Research a divorce team. Landers recommends that you spend time in December researching family law attorneys who will suit your needs and then some time next month interviewing them. He also recommends that people with significant assets research a divorce financial planner, and if needed, a therapist or counselor to help you through what might be rough emotional patches ahead.
  • New accounts. He recommends opening new bank accounts (checking and savings) and getting new credit cards in your name alone. He says you shouldn’t use the bank you currently use for joint accounts. If you’re a woman about to get your first credit card alone, that can pose some challenges that are dealt with sooner rather than later.

Source: Forbes: “End-of-the-Year Checklist for Divorcing Women,” Jeff Landers, Dec. 6, 2011

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