Divorce and Your Wallet: Five Ways You Can Protect Your Finances in the Midst of Separation

When faced with an impending divorce, the thought of further burdening yourself with the financial aspects of the split is less than appealing. It is understandable that soon-to-be ex-spouses would prefer to skirt over money matters, but sadly, money has to be addressed at the end of the marriage, otherwise both parties are in for a potential storm as the divorce process unravels.

Damage Control

As you gear up to deal with the complicated financial matters that can accompany divorce, keep the following five tips in mind to ensure your money is protected once the split is officially over. Every dollar will help once you are on your own, especially if you have been reliant on your spouse for a certain amount of income or if many years have passed since you have had to provide for yourself.

  • Update your beneficiaries – If you ever named your spouse as a beneficiary, make sure you adjust these details and remove them from the document, if necessary. In many cases, will beneficiaries are considered null and void following a divorce, but those listed on retirement accounts may still stand, even after the split is long over;
  • Be proactive with pension and retirement accounts – Retirement accounts and pension plans are particularly at risk during a divorce, due to the nature of the restrictions and the fine print. Each plan is different and can vary from state to state, so it is wise to acquaint yourself with your account plan and ask any questions early on, this way there are no surprises as you reach the end of the divorce process;
  • Turn to your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement – Post-nuptial agreements can get messy, as they deal with existing property and property that was recently acquired, while prenuptial agreements have the power to stir up a lot of emotional tension. Their usefulness, however, is invaluable, especially when you have a lot at stake financially. Do not dismiss the possibility of signing a marital agreement early on in a marriage – it just may be the most important step you take to ensure your money is fairly handled in the event of a separation. If you already have an agreement in place, speak with your lawyer to clarify how it will impact your finances, so you know what to expect as you move forward;
  • Do your homework – No matter what financial matter you must address when divorcing, it is crucial to gather your resources and create a full list of each and every account you and your spouse share, including credit cards and personal loans. Make copies of relevant documents and proof of accumulated debts, and jot down your wishes regarding how you would like to see those accounts and debts handled following the divorce.
  • Consult with a professional – Once you have done your homework and have a broad snapshot of your overall financial standing as both an individual and as a couple, it is time to consult with a professional who can assist you in carrying out your financial needs during the divorce.

Take the first step in protecting your wallet before the separation is final. Call an experienced Orland Park family law attorney to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.