Taking Charge of Your Future in a Divorce

No matter where you are in the divorce process, it is imperative you begin preparing for your future, especially financially. As an experienced divorce attorney, Stephen J. Bedor has compiled this "to-do list":

A Divorce To-Do List

1. Gather and copy all of your family's financial records, including:

  • Income tax returns for the past several years, plus schedules and attachments and the most recent pay stubs for yourself and your spouse and computerized financial records.
  • Statements for checking, savings, money market, brokerage, pension, 401(k), IRA and other accounts — stock records and certificates (either held jointly or by you alone), all records on any stock options or other employee benefits and all records in your safe or safety deposit box.
  • Appraisals of real estate or personal property and applications and paperwork for loans.
  • Wills, trusts and life insurance documents. Open an account in your name at a bank or credit union your spouse does not use. Save as much money as possible there. You may need it, especially if your spouse tries to terminate any joint credit cards.
  • All financial and other records relating to any family-owned business, including records of new orders, bids, etc. — try to copy the income and expense records for the last five years.

2. Open new checking and savings accounts in your own name. Save as much money as you can. Obtain a safety deposit box at the same bank. Protect your small valuables and family heirlooms by removing them from the family home.

3. If you don't already have credit in your name, establish it now. Apply for a department store card, gas card, VISA or MasterCard. Obtain a copy of your credit report.

4. Make a list of all your family's assets, ranging from automobiles to art and antiques. Try to note when each was acquired, the cost and how much it would cost to replace.

5. If you receive health insurance through your spouse, see your doctor or dentist now for any exams or treatments you may need, assuming these visits are covered.

6. Don't sign new contracts with your spouse for loans or any other financial commitments without first consulting an attorney.

7. Please, most important for you, obtain legal advice. Know the consequences before you act.

Contact the Law Office of Stephen J. Bedor, so I can begin working for you and helping you achieve the results you deserve. As a skilled divorce lawyer, I will help relieve the stress of going through a divorce and move quickly so you can get on with your new life. Located in Lake Oswego, our firm represents clients throughout the Portland area.