The financial plans you make – and the steps you take – before moving forward with divorce can have significant impacts on your financial future and your life after divorce. If you are able to take some time to financially plan, here are some of the most important things to do if you are serious about protecting your finances in and after the divorce process:
- Get all of the financial documents together – Financial documents can detail the extent of the marital assets and debt (i.e., the marital property). Some of the documents to compile (and make copies of) include:
- Mortgage documents.
- Income tax returns.
- Bank statements.
- Deeds and/or titles to property owed.
- Retirement account statements.
- Insurance policy documents.
- Any other documents related to loans or lines of credit shared with your partner.
- Open a bank account and/or lines of credit in your name only – If you only have a joint bank account with your partner, make sure that you open up another account that is in your name only. This can be important to maintaining access to your money, especially if the divorce may be a source of bitterness for your ex (and, consequently, may prompt him or her to try to drain your mutual account).Similarly, open up at least one line of credit that is in your name only. This can provide you with some extra financial support if you need it as the divorce proceeds.
- Close all joint lines of credit – Do this as soon as you are ready to inform your partner of the divorce and/or move forward in filing the divorce paperwork with the court. Failing to close your joint lines of credit can open you up to financial problems later if, for instance, your bitter ex decides to run up charges or max out your joint accounts (possibly as a way to get back at your and/or deprive you of financial resources).
- Check your credit report regularly and often – Even if you have closed your joint lines of credit, be sure to get in the habit of checking your credit report at least every few months as you move through the divorce process – and after your divorce is final. Checking your credit report can alert you to potential problems, such as the following:
- An ex opening up fake accounts in your name (by using your personal information).
- An ex failing to make payments on the marital debt after being order by the court to do so.
- Put yourself on a budget – During and after divorce, you may have to adjust to living on a single or limited income. Figuring out your monthly living expenses and putting yourself on a budget as you adjust to your new resources (and possibly limitations) can help you avoid digging yourself into massive debt during and after divorce. And that can be the key to having the financial resources you need as you start the next phase of your life after divorce.
Contact Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen A. Schoenau
For exceptional representation in Arizona divorce, you can rely on Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau.
To meet with Attorney Karen Schoenau and find out more about how she can help you, contact our firm today by calling 480-467-3435 or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.
From offices based in Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.