At the start, a marriage is a joyous and happy event for the people involved. At the time of saying “I do”, most couples never imagine that this newfound bliss might one day turn into despair and anger. Sadly, however, this is the reality these days. Marriages may turn into one of the most difficult parts of your life. If you are facing a divorce, here is how to maintain self-respect and protect your finances.
- Open a Bank Account
If you had a bank account prior to marriage, make sure the money is kept separate from the joint account that you have with your spouse. As long as it is not combined with your spouse’s money, you remain the legal owner in case of a divorce.
But if you only had a joint account with your spouse, this is the time to open yours and start putting money into it. Your partner cannot drain personal account the same way they could your joint account. However, you need to know that if you reside in a community state, any amount going into this account will be deemed a marital property unless you first establish a formal separation date.
- Establish Separation
This step is very important especially for those in a community state. After establishing a date of separation, it will become impossible for your spouse to stake claim to your income or any new assets that you acquire using that income.
Moving out is one way of establishing separation. Whether you move into a separate apartment, your parents’ home or into a new home, you are making it clear that the two of you are not functioning as a couple anymore. Your ex cannot touch any income you receive after this date.
- Establish Credit
Do not allow your partner to be a joint holder or a user to this account. Also, use the card wisely and avoid running up huge bills. The card might come handy in times of emergency.
During the Divorce
1. Filing for a divorce
Your best bet is to contract a high-quality lawyer. Although they charge high fees, note that the stakes are even higher. But a top-range lawyer is not necessary if you are pursuing the option of mediation.
2. Change all Account Passwords
Your social media, financial, and email passwords should all be changed as soon as possible. When choosing a new password, ensure it does not have anything to do with your life as a couple.
- Limit Access to Joint Accounts
Remember also to review all your accounts and see which accounts are joint accounts. There are times when it will be impossible to close the accounts until you reach a divorce settlement. But you are free to talk to the institutions that you hold the account and let them know of the situation. They could help you limit account access thereby preventing them from being depleted.
During the divorce proceedings, it is important to carry yourself appropriately. Refrain from speaking angrily and saying things that might be used against you. Do not threaten your ex and also avoid running up massive bills with the joint accounts. Also, do not have conversations with your ex alone during proceedings. If you must have any contact, make sure you do it in the presence of a third party or a representative. If you conduct yourself in a manner that is above reproach, your chances of receiving concessions during a divorce will be much higher, especially if your spouse behaves poorly.