When wedding vows are exchanged, often the two parties enter marriage with the understanding that “What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.” Yes, this can also include incurring their debt. Unfortunately, many people deal with plummeting credit scores as a result of their former spouse’s financial negligence. This is a sad reality that is common amongst divorced couples. Here are three ways to prevent the financial burden from happening to you:
- Divide assets: During a divorce, you will need to divide your assets- including joint checking and savings accounts. How these joint assets should be maintained in the interim is unique to each situation. In some cases, joint accounts will need to remain open so that the marital bills can continue to be paid out of them during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. In other cases, specifically, where there is a risk of one party dissipating funds, it may be necessary to freeze the account so that the party does not have access to the account until a determination is made as to how the funds will be divided.
- Resolve mortgage or rent payments: Regardless of your situation, often, mortgage and rent payments are expected to be paid on time, every time. An exception may be if you qualify for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as a result of the current pandemic. Otherwise, for example, you may need to have a conversation with your spouse and determine if your house needs to be sold, if one of you will be moving, and/or who will be responsible for the mortgage payments. If you have an apartment, you likely will need to determine who will make rent payments, if you will split the payments, or speak to your landlord regarding the ramifications of breaking your lease.
- Hire an experienced attorney: Do your research, read all reviews, and get recommendations from friends who have gone through the divorce process. Find the best family law attorney near you that you can. This is critical because the divorce attorney you choose often plays a major role in sorting out the financial responsibilities of both parties. They can often structure the process to make it less stressful and more seamless.
This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.