Many couples divorce over money and financial issues. Unfortunately, you can still endure financial stress once the divorce process begins. One of the most complex parts of divorce is settling your finances and dividing your assets and debts. To best prepare for this process and to keep your own finances in order, consider the following:
Open Your Own Bank Accounts
If you have not yet done so, open checking and savings accounts in your name only. Banks do not generally allow one person to remove another from an account if their social security numbers are on record. For that reason, you need an account of your own that your spouse cannot access. Change any direct deposits to the new accounts. Do not take any money from your joint accounts unless it is to pay for your basic household bills. Your attorney will advise you when you can utilize money from your joint accounts. You do not want to be accused of taking money that does not belong to you.
Check Your Credit
If finances were a big sticking point in your marriage and a primary cause of your divorce, it is wise to check your credit. Look at your credit report to see if anything looks out of the ordinary. Verify that all accounts that are open actually belong to you. You should also check the balances of any debts to see if any spending was done without your knowledge. It is always possible to have legitimate mistakes on a credit report. However, if anything looks strange or if you notice patterns that indicate your spouse may have been using your information to gain credit or loans, you need to let your divorce attorney know.
Check Your Insurance Beneficiaries
If you have your spouse listed as a beneficiary on your insurance plans or other accounts, you need to have them removed. If something happened to you during the divorce process and you pass away, your spouse would be the beneficiary of your insurance if you have not yet taken steps to have them removed. At the same time, check your will and other estate documents to ensure your money goes to those you want and not your spouse.
Divorce is never easy, but it can be increasingly more difficult if you do not take steps to cover yourself financially. Be sure to have copies of all your finances when you see your divorce attorney to ensure all your bases are covered.