One of the most stressful experiences a person can go through is divorce. The financial questions accompanying a property settlement and division of assets can be the most frustrating and confusing part of the divorce process. However, people can protect themselves and their finances during divorce by taking certain steps.
People need to have a clear idea of their financial situations when faced with divorce. One of the first things to do is collect and review copies of important financial documents such as:
- Car loan documents
- Bank account statements
- Investment and retirement account statements
- Credit card bills
After reviewing the documents, people would do well to put the copies in a secure place such as with a trusted friend or relative, or in a safe deposit box.
Check Credit Reports
Obtaining a copy of a credit report is extremely useful once divorce begins. People will then be aware of all of the accounts that are open in their names alone and jointly with their spouses. They can then monitor their credit reports to ensure that their spouses are not accruing debt on joint accounts or attempting to dissipate marital assets.
Build a Solo Financial Identity
People should take steps to disentangle themselves financially from their spouses as soon as possible after they know they are divorcing. They should begin to open bank accounts in their names alone, as well as close joint accounts held with their spouses.
People need to remember to change their wills to remove their former spouses as heirs. Additionally, they should change the beneficiaries on non-probate assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and trusts.
Those facing divorce should seek the advice of experts. Consulting with financial planners and accountants can help people understand their finances more fully and what they should ask for in a divorce settlement. People also need the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney who can help them achieve a just settlement.