Your finances after divorce.

Common questions during a divorce in Ohio.

[body] If one spouse is in charge of handling the finances, the other is often saddled with a slew of new and intimidating responsibilities in the event of a divorce. If this is your first time budgeting and handling a checking account, you’re probably facing numerous questions such as, “How do I open a banking account after my divorce?” “How do I balance a checkbook?” or, “How do I create a budget?” When it comes to divorce questions, Columbus family attorneys Weis Law Group are here to make sense of the clutter you are now facing.

How to open your own bank account.

Opening your own checking or savings account after relying on your spouse’s financial planning throughout your marriage can seem daunting. Opening your own account is easier (and more important) than ever.

1. Shop around. Different banks can have different fees, hours and services.

2. Identify what’s important to you. Do you need close local branch, or will you be doing most of your banking online? What are the annual or monthly fees like? Does the account require a minimum balance? Does it the bank have convenient ATMs?

3. Make sure you bring a picture ID (like a driver’s license), proof of your social security number (social security card, pay stub with your SSN printed), proof of address/residence (utility bill, lease agreement) and initial deposit (usually check or cash for at least the minimum balance of the account you plan to open).

How to balance your checkbook.

If you’re one of the many women suddenly faced with managing a household, a lower income and a checkbook on your own for the first time, you might feel embarrassed. You may tell yourself that you should have been better prepared or more independent during your marriage. These are common emotions, but know that the path to financial independence is ahead of you. Start with these simple steps to learn how to balance a checkbook and you’re already on your way.

1. Keep all of your records.

Maintaining records of all of your deposits and spending is essential to balancing your checking account. Don’t forget that every time you write a check, use your debit card, deposit a check, make a withdrawal, make automated payments or transfer money it needs to be recorded in your checkbook register. Keep all of your receipts and record your purchases at least once or twice a week and be sure to use exact amounts.

2. Obtain your bank statement.

Don’t forget to check and save your bank statements, even if they’re electronic. You can usually find your statement under “settings” when you log on to your bank account. Quicken also has software tools that combine all your account information for you into a simple format.

3. Find the last transaction.

Where your statement ends and when the bank stopped figuring amounts will show as a specific date and time marked at the top of your information. Whether your last transaction was a payment or deposit will also let you know the window of time and give you the baseline figure from which you can balance your checking account. When you record the balance at the last transaction and then compare it with the balance that is after the same transaction in your records. If the numbers match, your account is balanced. Keep reading if the numbers don’t stack up.

4. Check what has cleared and what hasn’t.

In order to know how your records match up with your bank’s, you’ll need to go through the statement line by line and check which payments and deposits have cleared and which are still outstanding.

5. Subtract or add if necessary.

This is where it gets a little difficult. If you found any deposits in the previous step that haven’t cleared, you’ll need to subtract them from the bank’s balance. You’ll also need to add any payments that haven’t cleared to your bank’s balance. Then look at your bank statement for any fees like overdrafts, ATM transactions or monthly fees and subtract these from your checking account balance to bring the two balances in line with each other. At this point the balances should match perfectly. If they don’t, it means there is a mistake somewhere along the line. Repeat steps four and five until the balances are identical.

How to create a budget after divorce.

Setting a budget is critical to gaining financial independence after divorce. This key step will not only help you track your income and finances, but will also give you a clear picture of what you can afford now that you are living with a single income. First, collect all of your statements for utilities, rent or mortgage, car payments and any other regular expenses in order to understand your income needs. Once you have a grasp of where your money is coming from and going to, you’ll be able to accurately plan month to month. Living within your means is essential to managing your finances and achieving stability. For help creating a budget, you might consider a website like Mint.com or LearnVest.com.