The end of a marriage is a devastating time. Even if you’re the one who wanted out of the relationship. Things can turn from amicable to vengeful in the blink of an eye. This is why it is so important to be prepared to protect your finances during the divorce.
If the relationship ends badly, you may fear that your ex-spouse will try and sabotage your financial reputation or take your money. If the relationship ends on relatively good terms, there may still be financial matters that will turn messy.
Divorce is messy, but your finances don’t have to be. During and after separation, it’s important to protect yourself and your assets. These are 9 tips for protecting your finances after your marriage ends.
Check Your Credit
Your credit is important for moving on after a divorce. It’s how you will get a new home, car, or loan in the future (though quick loans are easy to get even for those with bad credit!).
A credit report is a great start to protecting yourself financially. This will allow you to see what state your credit is in.
As a bonus, a credit report may also tip you off to any debts or accounts your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has that they have not told you about. This will prepare you for how to move forward financially during your divorce.
Close Joint Accounts
It is not uncommon for married couples to have shared debt. This may include a home, student or car loan, investments, credit card, or a shared bank account. So long as both of your names are on these accounts, you will both be responsible for paying your debtors.
You should close joint accounts as soon as possible after separation and open your own bank account. This way you will be able to move your half of the funds into a private account.
Call your credit card company and ask for your name to be removed from your shared credit card. While you will still be responsible for any debt that has occurred up until that date, you will no longer be responsible for any charges your ex-spouse makes from that day forward.
Limit Access to Shared Bank Accounts
Some banks will not let you close a joint account until your divorce is finalized. In this instance, it would be wise to limit access to the account. Contact your bank and explain the situation. They will be able to limit access to your account, preventing you or your ex-partner from depleting the account.
Remove your Name from Shared Debt
It is essential that you remove your name from shared debt as soon as possible. This may not always be easy, especially if you don’t have that kind of income at your current disposal.
You and your spouse may come to a civil agreement about how to split your debts after divorce. You may even decide to retain your shared account for the purpose of paying off shared debts. However, keep in mind that if your spouse defaults on their payments, you then become responsible for their half of the debt.
A better option is to pay off your debt by taking out a quick loan. A quick loan, or “payday advance”, is a short-term unsecured loan that allows you to borrow money quickly to pay off debts. This way you will then owe whichever company lent to you, instead of owing your spouse or the bank.
Keep Important Documents Safe
During your divorce proceedings, you’ll want to organize your finances. Part of doing this includes collecting all of your important paperwork. Write down the names of each financial institution you and your spouse have loans, credit cards, investments, and other accounts with.
· Ensure you have important information such as:
· Account numbers
· Pay stubs for the last few months (preferably for both you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse)
· Receipts/Bills for family-related expenses
· Statements of investment
· Tax returns for the past three years
Once you collect this data, keep this information locked away so that only you and your lawyer have access to it. Having this information on hand will make your divorce flow much smoother.
Decide How to Settle Debts
During a marriage separation or divorce, debts will be split among each party. This will include what to do with the marital home, how to divide investments, which debts will be paid off by whom, and what to do about payments for any children you have together.
If you and your ex-spouse are able to be civil with one another, it would be in your best interest to convince them to close your joint accounts. Discuss the option of using a quick loan to pay off shared debts and speak to your financial institution together about re-working a repayment plan as singles.
Rename Any Beneficiaries
One often overlooked area of protecting yourself financially after your marriage ends are to rename your beneficiaries.
A beneficiary is someone who will inherit money from your investments, bank account, or insurance policy. Call your financial institution and insurance company and remove your ex-spouse from your account.
It is best to do this prior to your divorce. This way your spouse will not be able to rename your beneficiaries, nor will they benefit financially from you.
Get a Professional
While your friends and family may mean well by giving you divorce-advice, it’s always best to go to an unbiased source. There is no shame in getting a professional’s opinion about finances during a marital separation.
Seek advice from a divorce attorney, financial advisor, or mediator before and during your divorce. This will help you understand which steps to take in order to protect yourself financially.
Make a Plan
It is wise to create a post-divorce financial plan. Create a reasonable budget for how you will live now that you are on a single-person income. This may include downsizing your home, planning your meals, getting an extra job, or moving in with a roommate.
When your marriage it ends, it can leave your heart feeling empty – just make sure your bank account stays full! There are many financial aspects to consider after your divorce. Talk about how to split shared-debt and consider quick loans as a way to settle your financial struggles post-divorce.