VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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Financial preparedness for a Little Rock divorce

It's not unusual for Little Rock spouses to divvy up tasks, often according to individual desires to take on the work. Some couples designate one spouse to handle all the budgeting, bill paying and investments. During divorce, the spouse left out of the financial loop may be shocked by what he or she doesn't know about marital assets and liabilities.

It's not necessarily good or bad to have one spouse take the financial lead, but it can be a disadvantage at the end of a marriage. Before property division can take place, the spouses must add up the assets and bills they have and place a value on them, a job sometimes wisely left to valuation experts. There is one guarantee – if you didn't handle finances during marriage, you will once it's over unless you pay a professional to do it.

The double-income, joint-account days come to an end with divorce. The shift to being single usually causes at least some financial turmoil – purchasing or renting a new home or vehicle, moving, refurnishing and legal fees. There may be permanent losses like depleted investments and retirement savings, once shared and now split.

There's work to do like rethinking an investment strategy and portfolio, rebalancing a savings plan so retirement goals are met and securing a solid, solo credit rating. Divorced spouses need to take action to disconnect exes from wills and other estate planning documents and update the names of beneficiaries on insurance, individual retirement accounts and work pension plans. Jointly-titled assets must be retitled in the new, single owner's name.

Asset division is no small part of any divorce. Even after you know what you own and owe, there is still the job of negotiating with a former partner over how to split the property and debt. Don't shy away from getting professional advice, especially if your ex was the primary caretaker of marital finances.

Source: Daily Finance, "5 Tasks to Help You Start to Rebound Financially Post-Divorce" Hank Coleman, Apr. 29, 2014

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