If you and your spouse are currently struggling in your marriage, you might be considering a divorce. Although divorces are common, that doesn't mean that everyone is prepared and knows what to do when the relationship gets rocky. This is why it is important to prepare yourself ahead of time to know how to protect yourself financially during a divorce. Here are some tips.
1. Start Sorting Out The Mortgage
The house can be a major headache when divorcing. This is because generally both spouses will be on the mortgage, yet only one spouse will be living there while the couple is separated. Thus, even if you aren't currently living in the house, and even needing to pay rent elsewhere, you are still legally on the hook for the payments of the house. Instead of just leaving the property or walking out, you need to get a formal separation agreement that has terms based on who is responsible for the payments. In addition, you might even consider selling the house and getting away from the payments as quickly as possible.
2. Open Up Separate Bank Accounts
Another important factor is how you are separating your money during the divorce. In most marriages the couple keeps their money in joint banking accounts. This also relates to retirement accounts as well as investments. Know that as long as both spouses' names are on the account, one spouse could drain the account and take as much money as they want out of it. This is why you need to protect yourself when it comes to your bank accounts. Open a separate bank account as soon as possible so that you can start saving money for the legal fees, as well as your living expenses. Many people have been in dire situations because they failed to take care of their personal finances.
3. Change Your Will and End Of Life Documents
Chances are your will and end of life documents such as power of attorney's and life insurance policy has your spouse as the main benefactor and gives them power to make decisions for you. Just because you are going through a divorce doesn't mean that those documents are nullified. As long as your spouses name is on the document, it will be honored. Thus, change those documents as soon as the relationship deteriorates to avoid problems.
By doing these things you can protect yourself as you begin the divorce process. Talk to a lawyer, like Nelson, McPherson Summers & Santos LC, for more help.