FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-02-05
Although Missouri residents know the divorce process is challenging, divorcing couples may not be aware of the complex financial issues involved. Competing interests can also further complicate the situation.
Finances are one of the biggest sources of stress when going through a divorce, and that stress may be especially intense for individuals who are not familiar with handling finances.
The following tips are a good starting place for dealing with these issues.
Financial tips during a divorce
It is wise to be knowledgeable about your financial matters and not to rely solely on a financial advisor. Individuals who are informed about their financial status will often receive better advice from divorce attorneys and other professionals because they are able to ask better questions.
Be wary about advice offered by retirement and estate planning services that send invitations offering assistance since these companies often promote inappropriate financial plans or ask for information that can expose individuals to financial fraud. As an alternative, consider taking adult education courses that deal with personal finance topics, such as tax or investments.
It is also important to update any retirement plans and insurance policies with new beneficiary information. Life and homeowner’s insurance are two areas that frequently require updating, and, typically, people choose to remove a former spouse’s name from these policies.
Property and health care designations will normally change after a divorce as well. Even if the divorce is amicable, most people do not want a former spouse making major health care decisions for them.
Additionally, prepare a will or update an existing one. After updating all of these documents, prepare a letter of instructions, which is the legal term for a document that lists the location of important papers or documents.
Financial tips post divorce
After a judgment of divorce is granted, the most important thing to do is to organize all of your finances. Make a list of which payments are necessary, and write all payment due dates on a calendar so they are not overlooked.
Close all joint accounts containing a former spouse’s name. Do not forget about infrequently used credit cards. For accounts that continue to be used by a former spouse, shred any cards from the account and call the company directly to disclaim any further responsibility for payments.
Finally, update documents to reflect any name change. Common documents requiring new name information are a driver’s license, a social security card and credit cards.
The divorce process can be extremely emotional, and it is easy to overlook practical matters like finances. An individual going through a divorce can benefit from an experienced Missouri family law attorney. An attorney can provide guidance and assist with building a solid financial future.