If your spouse has decided that they want a divorce, it is to be expected that you’ll deal with grief, loss, anger, and heartbreak. It’s only natural. But be careful not to let your emotions overwhelm you, and leave you unprepared for the road ahead. If this is not a friendly divorce, and your spouse is leaving you, then you will need to prepare for battle. Financial battle, that is.
There are a number of financial issues that need to be dealt with quickly and efficiently during a divorce. Especially a contentious one. However, we would like to point out, before we even begin, that before you do anything with your assets, you should talk to an attorney. Some things can work really well in some situations, and can have terrible, even illegal results, in others. Always consult an attorney before making drastic moves.
Here are the first 3 items on a list of 10 financial issues that you will need to address in the very near future. Hard as it may be right now, by getting your money affairs in order, you stand a far better chance of surviving this process mostly unharmed. At least financially, if not emotionally.
Go to the bank, set up a new account in your own name, and transfer half of all of the money you and your spouse share into your new account. Don’t take all of it, as that would look very bad when you get to court. But take none and it might be ages before you can prove that you have a right to half of it.
Do this immediately, and be sure not to tell your spouse until after you’ve done it, or they may feel compelled to clean out the joint accounts before you get a chance to take your half.
Get all of your important documentation out of the house as soon as possible, and store it in a secure location where your spouse cannot access it. Whether you choose a safe deposit box or a friend’s home, pick a place where no one else will have access to your information.
This includes bank statements, bills, phone records, financial information, and anything else that may be used in any way as evidence against you in court. Also, this will ensure that your vengeful spouse doesn’t accidentally “lose” something critical to your case.
As soon as possible, make sure that you cancel all credit cards that are jointly owned, and get a credit card that is only in your name. Nothing could be worse, in the midst of your divorce, to discover that you are suddenly financially responsible for a spite-driven spending spree. Separating your lines of credit could save you thousands if your spouse is feeling vindictive.
Also be sure to contact the bank and let them know what you are doing and why, so that you have firmer ground to stand on later if you need to contest any charges your soon-to-be-ex snuck in before you were able to wrap up your joint accounts.
Join us next time as we look at the next three items on the list. We understand that this is a difficult subject to talk about. It can also be very hard for people, due to the emotional maelstrom they are experiencing, to make well-thought-out long term decisions. So this guide is aimed at providing some guidance for those whose marriages have collapsed around them, and they are dealing with a bitter and vindictive spouse who is likely to make choices driven by anger instead of intelligence.