In Part One of this series we talked about the first 3 items on a list of 10 very important financial issues that you need to give immediate attention to during a contentious divorce. Namely: bank accounts, documentation, and credit cards. But it doesn’t end there.
You’re doing well, but there there is a lot more to come. During divorce it is very easy to get discouraged. But we want to encourage you not to allow the magnitude of the situation to overwhelm you. Just knuckle down and do the best you can. There’s a long ride ahead, and you CAN survive this. You just need to keep your wits about you and stay focused.
Before we begin, however, we would like to remind you once again that before you do anything with your assets, you should talk to an attorney. Some things work really well in certain situations, but in other circumstances can have terrible, or even illegal results. So always consult an attorney before making any drastic moves.
Here are the next three items…
Numerous advice column will tell you to stop making payments to your IRA or 401K as all retirement and pension funds accrued during marriage are considered marital assets. This means that your spouse is entitled to half of them when your assets are divided up. While it’s true that they are considered marital assets, the reality is that not making payments into your retirement accounts isn’t going to help.
According to experienced divorce attorney Brandy Thompson, “It really makes no difference whether you are putting it in your pension or putting it in a can in the back yard, you are still required to divide it according to the court order. You can’t “save up” but not putting money in retirement. The money you “save” is still marital money.”
Go through your house and make a full and complete inventory of all items that are of any value at all. Sign and date your list, and make a copy to keep with your attorney or in your safe deposit box. Also, take photographs or videotape the items so that you have evidence if things start mysteriously ‘disappearing‘ from the house.
Stocks & Bonds:
You and your spouse may own stocks or bonds together, or you own some that are in your name only. While some people may advise you to call your broker ASAP and have them equally divided, we don’t think that’s a good idea. “Think about it,” Thompson says, “What if you divide them and the court awards a 60/40 split. You may end up calling your broker a second time to change everything and he/she may charge you more. And, if you divide them without your spouse knowing, you may be held in contempt of court if there is a mutual restraining order in effect.”
Join us next time as we wrap up this series on financial concerns to consider during your divorce. And remember – before making any decisions about your money or other assets, talk to your attorney! We can help you figure out what’s best for your individual situation.