5 Ways to Prevent a Divorce From Breaking Your Bank Account

5 ways to prevent divorce from breaking your bank account

Divorce is rarely if ever considered a pleasant experience, even when both spouses want to separate and are willing to part on good terms. But if a divorce is inevitable, then it’s important to first seek out the advice of a competent divorce attorney, preferably one who is settlement-oriented, to learn how you can best minimize your legal fees while preparing financially for your post-divorce future.

When starting the divorce process, there are simply too many considerations and potential consequences that necessitate professional and competent legal advice. It can be helpful to consider your legal fees as an investment that can save you much in the long run, both emotionally and financially. For instance, a good attorney can help maximize the assets and income you receive in your divorce settlement and reduce the chance that you will need to return to court after the divorce to resolve issues that weren’t fully or adequately addressed, such as parenting time, payment for college expenses, unanticipated changes in your economic circumstances, or tax consequences. Here are 5 actions you can take to help minimize your legal fees while preparing for your financial future after divorce.

1. Make preparations ahead of time.

If you already have plans to leave and you think a divorce is imminent, start collecting bank and brokerage account statements so that when it comes time to identify the assets to be divided, you’re aware of all the checking, savings, brokerage and retirement accounts that were acquired during your marriage. You will also want to keep track of paychecks and statements that show annual bonuses or commissions received by you and your spouse during your marriage to help show the earning histories. It’s also a good idea to identify any such funds that were acquired before the marriage as well as any inherited assets or funds, as these might not be considered eligible for dividing with your spouse depending on the circumstances.

2. Open your own bank account.

If you haven’t already done so, it might be a good idea to establish a separate bank account in your name alone to help pay for your legal fees during the divorce process.

3. Check your credit report.

It is generally a good idea to obtain a copy of your most recent credit report to uncover all debts for which you are potentially liable, whether or not the debts are in one or joint names. You can obtain one free credit report per year simply by accessing www.annualcreditreport.com.

4. Establish your own credit.

If all or most credit cards were in joint names during the marriage, opening a credit card in your name alone will help to establish a credit history for your financial needs after the divorce. If you are reasonably concerned that your spouse will incur charges on joint credit cards during the divorce, you might consider, with the advice of your attorney, reducing the credit limit on those joint accounts.

5. Change your passwords.

If you are reasonably concerned that your spouse will monitor your email and/or social media accounts, you might consider with the advice of your attorney changing your passwords associated with these accounts.

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