Although divorce is the result of roughly one in two marriages in the country, it is by no means an easy or simple proceeding for those involved. While the public perception of divorce sees the action primarily as the severing of romantic ties between individuals, it’s important to understand that it also severs the financial partnership forged though the institution of marriage.
If not handled carefully by an experienced divorce attorney, divorce proceedings can have devastating consequences on the finances of either party involved. Because of this risk, it’s imperative to avoid rushing through the separation process no matter how emotionally taxing it might appear to be. Here are some important guidelines to follow if you wish to keep your finances secure for life after the divorce.
1. Pay Close Attention To The Location Of All Accounts
Do not trust your spouse to honor whatever verbal agreements you might have made in preparation for the separation. Although you may have mutually agreed upon the division of assets outside of a legal environment, it is our family law attorneys’ experience that having complete confidence in the autonomy of one’s accounts, debts, liabilities, assets, and property is paramount to ensuring your finances are retained in full after the divorce is finalized.
In order to make sure you are aware of the locations and statuses of your accounts follow these three steps:
• Obtain and produce copies of all financial document
• Take an inventory of household items and family possessions to be certain they do
Being proactive in keeping your assets solitary during the early stages of separation can save you from potential conflicts later in the proceedings. In addition to the areas of finance mentioned above, also be aware of any stocks, savings accounts, and investments you may have.
2. Take Action To Dissolve Joint Accounts
This could come in the form of removing your spouse’s name from any and all joint accounts, discontinuing the use of such accounts, and canceling joint accounts altogether. These types of accounts usually come in the form of credit cards, savings and checking accounts, equity credit lines, safe deposit boxes, investment holdings, and property ownership.
The closing of joint accounts is often not a clear-cut process. An experienced divorce attorney can assist you in determining what is the best course of action for you and your spouse.
3. Open Your Own Accounts
Prior to filing for divorce, you should establish your own checking and savings accounts if you do not already have one to your name only. This applies to opening your own credit card account as well.
By proactively creating autonomous accounts, you prevent your spouse from cutting you off financially, which could prevent you from hiring a divorce lawyer to assist in the legal proceedings.
In addition to your own accounts, consider establishing a separate mailing address that will remain confidential to your spouse to avoid mail interception. Be wary of your online accounts as well. Be sure to hide passwords and make sure you do not remained logged in to any banking or other financial management websites. If you do your banking via smartphone, protect the phone with a password or any other security measures that will prevent unwanted tampering.
4. Be Sure Every Agreement Is Finalized In Writing
Do not leave any agreements in verbal terms. Having documented agreements can quickly resolve future disagreements or “lapses in memory.” For example, if a credit card company is demanding payment for a credit card your spouse has agreed to pay, having a document to present to the court may be a helpful in saving time and energy deciding who in fact is responsible for payment.
Any such agreements can and will most likely be handled by your respective attorneys so remember that only experienced family law attorneys can protect your interests during the entirety of the divorce process.
5. Vigilantly Protect Your Credit
These three steps can ensure your credit is protected throughout a divorce and afterward:
• Check your credit score no less than once a year to make sure the divorce has not
affected it adversely.
• Sever all financial ties with your ex-spouse and work with your divorce attorney to divide or
cancel all joint accounts and cut all financial connections.
• Make sure all of your creditors are routinely informed of your upcoming divorce.
If you are seeking divorce consultation or are in need of an attorney to assist you in maintaining your financial assets during seperation, contact an experienced Beloit Family Law firm, The Fitzgerald Law Firm, today for a free consultation. We understand that meetings may not be possible during traditional business hours, so please let us know a time that works for you and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
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