Going through a divorce can be an emotionally challenging time, but it’s crucial to also address the financial aspects of the separation. Taking the right steps early on can help you navigate the process more smoothly and secure your financial future. Below I outline the first five financial steps to take when you are getting a divorce.


  1. Take a breath and have a self care plan:

The first step is not financial but has a big impact on your decision making and peace of mind. Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can go through. When your life seems out of control it may be hard to even think about taking care of yourself, yet it is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Resting, eating right, and getting exercise are so important to do during a divorce. It can reduce stress, keep you thinking clearly and give you confidence. 

  1. Gather All Financial Documents:

Before anything else, gather all relevant financial documents, including bank statements, tax returns, investment account statements, credit card bills, mortgage statements, and any other financial records. Make copies of everything and keep them in a safe place. It is necessary to gather important documents as soon as possible when accessibility is easier, as sometimes your spouse can make it more difficult to attain these or try to hide them later in the process. It is also important to gather life event documents like birth certificates, your marriage certificate, social security cards, and pictures. You will always be able to attain documents in your name but the harder it is to get the more money it can cost you.  These documents will be essential during the divorce proceedings to determine the division of assets and liabilities accurately.

  1. Assess Your Current Financial Situation and Consult with a Divorce Financial Planner:

Take a comprehensive look at your current financial situation. Calculate your income, expenses, and debts. Make a list of all your assets, such as property, vehicles, investments, and retirement accounts. Understanding your financial standing will help you make informed decisions during the divorce process and negotiate a fair settlement.

Consider consulting with a divorce financial planner or a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). These professionals specialize in helping individuals navigate the financial complexities of divorce. They can provide valuable insights, help you understand the tax implications of various settlement options, and assist in creating a post-divorce budget. They are an important part of your divorce team that can work with you after your divorce is final. 

  1. Monitor Joint Accounts and Establish Individual Accounts:

If you have joint bank accounts or credit cards, it’s crucial to monitor them closely to avoid any financial surprises or potential misuse. Close unnecessary joint credit cards that you do not use.  Open individual bank accounts and credit cards in your name to establish financial independence. You will need to disclose these new accounts but it can provide you more control and peace of mind. When appropriate, you can then easily redirect all automatic payments and direct deposit to your new accounts.


  1. Protect Your Credit:

Divorce can have a significant impact on your credit score. Monitor your credit report regularly to ensure there are no unauthorized accounts or suspicious activities. Close joint lines of credit and remove your spouse as an authorized user on your accounts when appropriate to do so. Your credit score is important  can impact areas of your life more than just your cost of credit. It can also make a difference in your insurance premiums and potential employers may look at it also. A divorce financial planner can help give you ideas on how to increase your credit score. Establishing an individual credit history is essential for your financial stability post-divorce.


Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally draining process, but taking the right financial steps can help you protect your financial well-being. By taking a breath and having a self care plan, gathering all necessary documents, assessing your financial situation and consulting with a divorce financial planner, seeking professional advice, monitoring joint accounts, and protecting your credit, you will be better prepared to negotiate a fair settlement and secure your financial future. Remember, it’s essential to consult with a divorce attorney to ensure you are following the legal requirements and processes specific to your jurisdiction.

Jennifer Merida, CDFA

Grace Financial Consulting

Content provided by Women Belong member Jennifer Merida