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Start preparing now for a divorce in 2019

The first few months of the new year always see a bump in divorce. No parents in Georgia want to tell their children during the holidays that their family will be breaking up. And no adult children really want to tell their parents, either, for the same reason.

So if you know you are headed to divorce, it's important to take control of your finances – especially as we head toward the holiday spending extravaganza.

Both men and women who are planning to end their marriages in 2019 need to start thinking about money now, before filing, so that they don't have to make big financial decisions under the pressure of a divorce.

Here are some tips to help you financially a few months ahead of your divorce filing.

1. Take a weekend alone to look at your finances. If your spouse has handled the money, get informed. If your soon-to-be ex won't share statements on your joint accounts, go to the bank or call your financial institution to request copies. You'll want to look at car loans, your mortgage balance, your credit-card debt and tax returns. Get as much paperwork as you can about your assets, too, such as bank statements and balances of retirement accounts. Your attorney is going to need all of this information.

2. Assess your spending. What are your fixed expenses, such as child care, rent and car payments? How will you propose to split future child-related expenses? Now is a good time to start cutting back some of your expenses. If you have personal credit cards not linked to your spouse, don't go overboard on the kids for Christmas. Those are bills you'll be responsible for in the new year.

3. Look to the future. Think about how you will afford to pay for the house if you want to fight for it in the divorce. What will be your priorities? This will help you in deciding how you would like to divide assets in your divorce.

4. Start preparing a budget. If your spouse handled investments and you know nothing about it, consult with a financial planner.

Divorce is a life-changing event. Be prepared. Assemble your paperwork and consult with a Georgia attorney on how to get ready for what is ahead of you.

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