Even in the most amicable separation, it’s important to protect your financial interests and position yourself for financial security in the future. You can take specific actions to protect that future without hurting your soon to be ex-spouse or behaving in an illegal way.
Securing Your Financial Future During a Divorce
The financial impact of your divorce can be overwhelming. Your finances will change as you and your spouse establish separate households, but you can be prepared for the upcoming changes and position yourself well for the future by:
- Getting all of your records in order and keeping copies. Make sure you have copies of your household financial records over the past few years. This may include tax returns, bank statements, investment account statements, and stock information.
- Creating a written inventory of all property. Your real estate may be included on this list, but there is usually more property involved. Be sure to itemize all of your physical property, including jewelry, electronics, art, furniture, and other items of value.
- Having your accountant and financial planner consult with your divorce lawyer. Both your accountant and your financial planner may have information about your finances that is important for your divorce attorney to know, so she can advise you and represent your financial interests fairly during divorce proceedings.
- Knowing what you owe. Your total credit card debt and other debts are an important part of your financial picture. Thus, it’s important to know what you owe now and what you may continue to owe once you are divorced, so you can plan for your financial future.
- Cancelling joint accounts. Make a plan to cancel your joint credit card, bank, and investment accounts.
- Watching your credit score. Your credit score may change as you close joint accounts and open new accounts. However, if you notice a large change in your credit score, it could be a sign that there are unpaid debts or an account that your spouse may still be using. There are several steps you can take to protect your credit score throughout your divorce.
- Opening a credit card in your name only. If you haven’t already closed your joint account with your spouse, you should consider closing it right away. It’s important to start establishing credit in your name only to put you in a strong financial position going forward.
- Not giving up assets you don’t like. Even assets you don’t particularly care for may have value. Thus, you may be able to sell the asset for financial gain, or you may be able to negotiate a trade of assets with your spouse.
- Understanding your spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you are over 62 and were married for at least 10 years, you may have the right to a portion of your spouse’s Social Security benefits as long as you remain single and your own Social Security benefits are not higher than your spouse’s benefits.
- Contacting your life insurance company. You will likely want to change your beneficiary to someone other than your soon to be ex-spouse.
Work With an Attorney to Plan for Your Post-Divorce Financial Future
The divorce process is about planning for what comes next. You can help plan for success by discussing your financial future with professionals such as an accountant, an investment advisor, and an experienced lawyer. To schedule a private and confidential consultation with an attorney, please call us, or reach out to us via this website. We are happy to help you achieve your future goals and protect your finances during the divorce process.