Many temptations come up when people are facing divorce. Many opportunities also come up then. Depending upon timing, some things are good ideas and others are not.
If you are facing divorce, or already involved in a divorce, here are some situations that commonly arise, along with some suggestions for you to think about when you are deciding whether to do something now or wait. (Hint: you will probably see a pattern.)
1. Should I buy a house before the divorce is final? If you do, it will very likely become a community asset which is subject to division in the divorce. Title companies will usually insist on listing both you and your spouse on the deed and the mortgage company may want to bind both parties to the mortgage, including the party not getting the house. There will be all kinds of complications. Of course, some very good deals may go away if you don't go after them immediately. You should certainly consult with your attorney.
2. Should I spend large amounts of money? If you do, you will likely be held responsible for the money and you may have to repay it or count it in your column as part of your community property when things are divided. There will be a cost to spending the money. Consult with your attorney.
3. Should I make new investments? You should be aware that the Court will probably include in the community property any new investments you make before the divorce is finalized. That means that they will probably be considered in the mix of the property to be divided upon divorce. Even though you make the investments, they will probably be community property unless you use solely separate assets to pay for it, or they could be part separate and part community. Certainly, consult with your attorney before making any investments.
4. Should I take a major vacation? No. Especially with a boy friend or girl friend. Even without the romance, your spouse may get angry that you are "wasting" assets or doing something he or she doesn't get to do. The cost of the trip will probably come from your side of the spreadsheet. It's not worth the grief. If you think you should go, please consult your attorney.
5. Should I sell or get rid of any assets? This is complicated. Usually, you should avoid selling or getting rid of things unless there's a compelling financial reason to do so and unless the Court or your attorney and your spouse's attorney have both signed off on the deal.
If you are thinking of making some financial moves while the divorce is pending, do as our British friends would do. Stay Calm and consult your attorney.