For most people, divorce is an emotional decision. It’s not until they get into the proceeding that they realize it’s more about money than anything. If you’re considering divorce, don’t wait to protect your financial interests. Here are steps to take before a divorce.
You’ll want copies of bank account information, retirement accounts, car titles, and mortgages. You should also try to find copies of your tax returns. Get identification documents, passports, birth certificates, and your marriage license. You may also want to pull a credit report on yourself to see where you stand. Get copies of liens and debts, to know what should be included in your divorce. Store copies somewhere outside the marital home.
Open a Post Office Box
You’ll need to communicate with your attorney, banks, and creditors without your spouse being aware. Don’t send this information to a friend’s house or a family member. You may trust that person implicitly, but you can’t be sure that anyone else won’t see letters and inadvertently mention it.
Open a New Bank Account
You will want to discuss the legal ramifications of taking any money out of the joint account with your lawyer, but you will want a separate account to put your own wages in. You can use this money to pay your lawyer and bills without your spouse being aware. You will want to keep your money secure and separate.
Secure Your Digital Information
Log out of social media and email on all family computers. Change passwords and only log in on personal devices. You don’t want your spouse to find out information before the divorce. You may even want to set up a new email account that only you know about to use for accounts and logins for social media to keep your spouse out.
Inventory Your Assets
Make a list of physical property, investments, stocks, real estate, and valuable items in the home. List which ones were acquired before marriage or were kept separate, such as an inheritance. You’ll need to divide this property at some point, and having a list can help you remember anything of value.
Change Your Estate Plan
If you have a power of attorney that gives your spouse power, change it. Make changes to health directives. Change your will. You may want to change your beneficiary on your life insurance or other accounts. Discuss your plans with a divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD, to make sure you’re staying within the law.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into steps to take before getting a divorce.