Seth Eric Springer, Esq.
How Do I Protect Myself Before Divorce?
One might think that divorce is not very common; however, the real hard truth is more than 40% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Unfortunately, when a person is faced with the struggle of a divorce and determining what the next chapter of life will bring, it is a good idea to think of how they can financially protect themself in a divorce. The financial aspect of a divorce can make the whole process more stressful.
Make a Record of All Marital Property
A good and simple way of doing this is through video recording. Ideally, a person would do this with their spouse; but if that isn't possible, the person should make a copy of their video recording for their spouse. The inventory should include the entirety of the home and the contents both inside and out. Make sure that items are out where they can be seen, and open up any drawers or cabinets so that the contents are clearly visible. The person recording the video should be positive that the date function is turned on, so the date shows up when the video is viewed. The recording should be stored somewhere safe so that if objects start to "disappear", there will be a solid record of what's missing.
Evaluate Joint Bank Accounts
Simply put, divorces can get ugly and petty. A soon-to-be ex-spouse might end up taking all the money in a person’s bank account, leaving them with nothing. Even if they have a load of assets, this would be a huge problem because they still need liquid cash.
Separate Debt to Financially Protect Your Assets
No matter the circumstances, no credit card company will care about anybody’s divorce. They will still hold a person liable for any debt their spouse has on any jointly held accounts they have. Usually, it is a good idea to pay off the joint credit cards and cancel the accounts if there is enough money to do so before leaving a marriage. If there aren’t enough funds to do so, it is possible to divide the debt in half and transfer that to individual cards before canceling the joint ones. Avoid keeping joint cards at all costs, because if a person’s partner doesn’t pay their half, that individual will be left to pay the balance.
Evaluate Joint Credit Cards, Lines of Credit and Other Liabilities
If a person’s spouse starts to go on a spending spree, that person could actually be held liable for the money that they end up spending. For a person to protect themselves, they should cancel all joint credit cards, lines of credit and other joint liabilities. They should also make sure they keep very good track of their bills and debts so they know when something is off as soon as it happens. Always be sure to notify creditors of a pending divorce.
Conduct a Cash Flow Analysis
The day-to-day process of a divorce can be trying and exhausting. As a couple is negotiating who gets what, they should try to look ahead and prepare themselves for a life on their own. Creating a budget cash flow analysis will give them understanding and control over their finances. It is usually recommended to add the different streams of income a person will have after their divorce and subtract the expenses.
One should not forget to account for the recurring expenses that they once split with their partner. Once they are finally on their own, the last thing they would want is to have any surprises when it comes to finances. Generally, it is a good idea to review credit card and bank statements from the past 12 months or so. Close attention should be paid to large expenses like health insurance, leases for a vehicle, subscriptions and others of the like. It is easy for expenses to add up quickly when a person suddenly has to pay the entire bill on their own.
Don't Sign Anything
Many people sign papers or preliminary agreements, which later becomes a huge mistake because it allows property and custody battles to be decided against them. A person may be signing something that is set in stone and cannot be undone by an attorney later on. If a person’s spouse wants them to sign any documents, that person should tell them that their attorney has ordered them not to sign anything.
Get an Attorney
If a person and their spouse cannot agree on the terms in their divorce, it could very well end up in court, where an experienced attorney will be necessary to represent you. Call 999PAdivorce.com for more information or to set up an appointment with our York PA divorce lawyer.