Divorce is more than just a complicated emotional event. Divorce can be financially devastating as well especially if one spouse had stayed out of the workforce while married. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your finances before, during and after divorce.
Protecting your finances before divorce
There are some ways you can protect your finances if divorce is on the horizon. First, organize your accounts. It can help to make a list of all financial accounts owned by you and/or your spouse. Those who stay in the dark about finances may not know the scope of their marital assets, which may lead to unpleasant surprises during the property division process if you forget about a significant asset or if your spouse tries to hide assets. Second, avoid making big purchases leading up to divorce especially if this purchase requires both your income and your spouse’s income. Third, open a credit card account in your name only.
Protecting your finances during the divorce process
There are ways you can protect your finances during the divorce process as well. First, keep track of the expenses you incur during the divorce process. It is important to keep your spending under control during this time. Second, document your estranged spouse’s use of marital funds. This can help you determine whether your spouse is irresponsibly wasting assets that you both have an ownership interest in. Third, open your own savings account and checking account. Fourth, create a monthly budget.
Protecting your finances after divorce
Divorce will ultimately bring financial changes as you move from a two-income household to a single-income household, so you do not want to rest on your financial laurels. It may be necessary to make changes to existing assets and accounts. For example, you may need to change the title on real estate or a vehicle to your name only, or your ex may need to do the same. You may also need to make similar changes to your bank accounts, investment accounts and creditors. If you fail to make these changes, it may be a mistake to assume your ex will pay certain expenses that are not documented in the divorce decree and retitled in your name only. You may still be financially liable for missed payments on shared accounts despite what your divorce decree says.
Learn more about your rights and options in your divorce
Preparing yourself for financial independence following your divorce can be complex, but with the right help you can make a plan that provides you with financial security during an uncertain time. Our firm’s webpage on divorce may be of interest to those in Texas who are contemplating ending their marriage.