Once you decide to part ways with your spouse, you must prepare yourself for the job of untangling the knots of the financial responsibilities you share. Doing things in advance — prior to the actual divorce proceedings — will save you from the stress it brings in the long run. If you believe that your spouse will be divorcing you or have mutually decided to divorce, below are some things you should do to safeguard your finances.
Safeguard Your Credit First
If you have joint accounts, close them all to avoid being held responsible for any potential debt that your spouse might make before your divorce. Get credit reports and make certain that you don’t have any other account in your name that your spouse might have opened without your knowledge.
Take Stock of All Your Accounts
This includes all individual and joint accounts — bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and any other asset you own. Find out exactly how much everything is worth and if you have any shared debt. Take note of accounts that have you or your spouse as each other’s beneficiaries, like retirement accounts or insurance plans. It’s also a great idea to make copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns.
Assess Your Insurance Policy
If your spouse’s insurance plan covered you during your marriage and vice versa, you have to get your own plan when you divorce. Check your car insurance policy as well as your life insurance plan if you don’t want your soon-to-be ex-spouse to receive anything from your policy in the event of your death.
Seek Advice From Professionals
Even if you’re civil and amicable towards each other, there’s still the possibility that one or both of you could snap before your divorce has been finalized. Consulting an asset protection attorney and a divorce lawyer about your circumstances could give you much need insight about your rights and help you through this complex process in case something goes wrong.
Divorce is rarely easy and it could quickly turn into a complete nightmare when you throw in unresolved financial issues to the mix. Acting as fast as you can before the actual divorce process could help ease the conflict and reduce damage to your financial future.