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How do you financially prepare for a divorce?

Feelings of anger, sadness and regret are common symptoms of the divorce process. Feeling like you got the short end of the stick financially can also result in a divorce, but it doesn't have to if you adhere to the advice that follows and get financially prepared in the initial days of your divorce process.

Here's what you can do to financially prepare for your divorce:

  • Get your financial statements together: Put together your tax returns, financial statements, bank statements and other information about your property. Make a copy of everything and give it to a friend or relative, or open a safety deposit box and safeguard the records inside.
  • Make an inventory of your assets: Make a list of your assets and possessions of value. Be sure to separate the list as things you believe separate property owned by you, separate property owned by your spouse and marital property. Marital property will include all property and earnings acquired after the date of your marriage -- with some exemptions for inherited property and other categories of property. Take photographs of all your property and valuables and make sure these photos have date stamps.
  • Keep an eye on your credit report: Request your credit report and save a copy of it with your data. Pay attention to debts that are outstanding now, and by monitoring your credit report you can stay aware of any surprise debts that may not be your responsibility after your divorce proceedings continue.
  • Create an individual bank account: You'll want to have your own bank account separate from your spouse, and your own credit card. This is something you should set up when you have definitively decided to divorce. However, you may want to open this account surreptitiously if you have yet to inform your spouse of the divorce, and keep the records with a friend or in a safety deposit box that only you can access.

If you've taken the steps above, you'll be well on your way to completing your pre-divorce financial preparations. One thing to be careful of: Never do anything that could appear to a family law court like you're trying to hide assets or "get one over" on your spouse financially. Understanding your marital rights and property rights will help you prevent such an outcome.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "6 Critical Steps to Prepare Your Finances for Divorce," accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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