You're planning on filing for divorce. If you're not involved in an abusive relationship, you might want to do some pre-planning before you actually file the paperwork. Pre-planning will give you enough time to prepare emotionally and financially. Here are three steps that will help ensure you have some financial security when you file for divorce.
Take Care of Your Bank Accounts
If you and your spouse share a joint bank account, you'll need to open an account of your own. Once you've filed for divorce, you won't want to share an account with your spouse. When considering joint accounts, take a look at the balance. If you live in a community property state, such as California, half the money in your joint bank account is yours.
If you think your spouse may clean out the account and leave you with nothing, withdraw half the money in the account. Be sure to have the bank document how much money was in the account and how much you withdrew. This will prevent your spouse from claiming you emptied the account. For further protection, remove your name from the joint account as soon as you've withdrawn your portion of the money.
Don't Forget About the Credit Cards
If all your credit cards are joint accounts with your spouse, start building your own credit as soon as possible. Open a credit card account in your own name. That will allow you to build your credit, while protecting yourself from joint accounts.
Once you've established your own line of credit with your credit cards, you should cancel any joint cards you may share with your spouse. This will prevent them from maxing out the credit cards and leaving you responsible for half the debt.
Create a Cash Supply
You know you're going to be filing for divorce, which means you're going to have expenses once you move out. If you have enough time, try to create a cash supply that will help you take care of those expenses. For instance, if you're going to be moving into an apartment, save enough cash for your first and last month's rent. You may also want to save enough to pay for any utility deposits you may be required to pay.
Divorce can be difficult, emotionally and financially. Make sure your financial future is secure by following the simple steps provided above. For other ways to protect your finances during a divorce, be sure to speak to a legal firm like Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg.