Steps to protecting your finances in a divorce
Divorce can take an emotional toll, but it can also tough on your financial health, as well. It is important for individuals who are thinking about whether to file for divorce to take time to make sure their finances are in order before they make a final decision. A bit of planning can not only ensure that the divorce process proceeds with as few surprises as possible, but can also help you protect your finances.
First, it is important to take steps to separate your finances from your spouse’s as soon as possible. This includes closing joint bank accounts and credit card accounts and opening new accounts in your own name. This can help you avoid responsibility for paying debts incurred after you file for divorce, but before it is finalized. If you have had joint accounts with your spouse, it is important to remember, too, that they could have a record of your personal information including your Social Security number. Even if your relationship ends on good terms, it is worth monitoring your credit report to make sure that there are no discrepancies.
Second, it is essential to learn as much as you can about the financial decisions that were made in the course of your marriage. Even getting a general picture of your assets and debts can go a long way in ensuring that property is divided as fairly as possible. If you are still on good terms with your spouse, this may be as simple as having a conversation. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not being cooperative, tax records from prior years, as well as your own financial records could prove to be essential sources of information.
Third, remember to consider not only real estate and bank accounts, but also retirement accounts and life insurance policies. In many cases, spouses name each other as beneficiaries on these sorts of accounts. It may not seem like an immediate priority, but it is important to change this information as part of the divorce process to ensure that these funds are distributed according to your wishes on the chance that something happens to you.
Finally, it is important to remember that it is not necessary to go through the divorce process alone. An experienced divorce attorney can provide you with essential guidance about the process, steps to take before filing and how best to protect your interests. For more information, schedule a meeting with a divorce attorney today.