7 Steps Of Divorce Preparation To Protect Yourself
If divorce is an imminent situation, these seven steps will help you secure yourself financially and protect your rights and interests.
The beginning of a marriage is a happy and joyous event of one’s life. It comes with high expectations for a lifelong commitment. In saying “I do” couples almost never think of the idea that bliss may turn into anger and despair. These days, however, reality dictates that this is what exactly happens; Marriages ends and sometimes it turns into one of life’s most difficult situation before it does.
Statistically, 4 out of 10 marriages ends in annulment or divorce and one of the biggest factors to this high divorce rate is that of control in relationship. This discussion will focus on financial control specifically. If one partner begins to control the other when it comes to the matters of purchases, investments and debts, the other partner may feel the loss of self-worth. Often times, the controlled spouse will feel anger and frustration prompting the desire to regain self-esteem thus leading them to divorce.
If you find yourself in this situation and feel divorce is your only viable outcome, you need to take the following steps to protect yourself financially.
1. Separate your Non-Marital Assets
Non-marital assets as defined is the property considered by the courts belonging to one spouse or the other and is not subject to equitable distribution. Simply put that it is not part of the assets that will be divided in a divorce proceeding. These assets includes:
• Inherited property
• Items brought to the marriage
• Gifts given specifically to one person as opposed to the married couple
• Proceeds from personal injury
In some cases, these non-marital assets can be mixed with marital assets and will be prevented from being claimed upon divorce. It is of importance to have a traceable paper trail in order to show where the assets were and where they were transferred into in order to claim it as non-marital asset.
2. Start Your Own Credit History
Some cases entails that there are people who lived their life depending chiefly on their spouse’s paycheck and were never in a position where they can build a good credit score. It is of utmost importance to establish your own credit history because these days, acquiring assets such as a credit card, new car and even mortgages will require a credit history.
It will also be wise to not start spending large amounts of money in buying highly priced items in order to keep your debt situation as simple as possible. As more outstanding debt, loans and property you have prior to divorce will only cause more intricate, stressful and time costing divorce proceeding.
4. Keep Track of Your Financial Records
Many couples have varied financial holdings ranging from checking to saving accounts. These accounts may be joint or separate accounts, either way it is useful to keep track to all accounts because when divorce proceeding begins it is common that evidence of these things conveniently disappears, leaving confusions to what you may be entitled to.
5. Have Good Timing
When to proceed with your divorce can have a considerable financial consequence. Many single income families with one spouse who have not worked or worked long enough to monetarily qualify for Social Security Benefits. However, if they have been married for over 10 years to someone who does qualify for Social Security income, then become divorced and do not remarry, then they may qualify for the qualified amount of their working spouse at age 62. In light of this, if you are in a similar situation and have not reached the 10 year mark but are closely arriving, it is in your best interest to do what you can to wait.
6. Close Joint Accounts
Like the third item on this list, if divorce is imminent to you and your spouse, it is important to be proactive and think of things that may cause additional financial burdens in the process of divorce. First, examine all the joint accounts and different ways where your spouse can run up credit card or withdraw and spend money. Freezing or closing your joint accounts can be a solution in order to keep track or keep your spouse from spending additional debt that you could be held responsible for. In the case where you will need to withdraw any money, keep a detailed records of where your money goes and prepare to account for it in the divorce process.
7. Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
The divorce process can be very confusing and difficult to manage. Large amount of information and guidelines must be considered which most people have no knowledge of. For this reason, it is important to consult with and hire an experienced divorce attorney who will be able to walk you through this process and help protect your rights. Keep in mind that an experienced attorney can make sure you avoid mistakes that could soon after cost you in your divorce proceeding.