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Cover Your Assets: 3 Things to Do before Filing a Divorce

Filing for a divorce is a monumental step to take that can have far-reaching effects on your life. As soon as you notify your spouse of your intention to end the marriage, your spouse may begin taking steps to protect his or her own financial house. It makes sense for you to prepare your finances appropriately before you tell your spouse that you are ending the marriage, and these important steps can get you on the right track.

List All Assets

If you have already consulted with a family lawyer such as Johnson/Turner Legal about your intention to file for a divorce, your attorney may have advised you to take specific financial steps. One of the first steps that many lawyers may advise you to do is to list all of your assets on a spreadsheet. This may include all bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts.

It may also include your vehicles, house, boat, RV and other assets. Obtain the most accurate and current value for these various assets as possible. By taking this step, you can better determine if your spouse begins to channel money or attempts to hide assets after you make your divorce intentions known.

Make Copies of Statements

It is not enough to list all of your assets and their values. It is also necessary to document the value of your assets in writing. Download copies of your bank statements. Obtain appraisals on assets as needed if you can do so incognito. Remember that debts will also be divided during the divorce proceedings.

Some spouses will charge up credit card accounts during the divorce process, so you should document the current balance on your cards. You may even consider halting charges on them or closing them entirely before you file for divorce. This can prevent your spouse from taking out more debt that you may potentially be liable for.

Establish a Private Checking Account

Another important financial step to take when you are preparing to file for divorce is to open your own checking account. You may begin to deposit your own paychecks into this account when you begin working with an attorney to begin the divorce process.

In some cases, a divorce can get nasty very quickly, and you may need access to this money to get your own place or for other purposes after you notify your spouse about your intentions.

Many divorces are amicable, and both partners try to equitably divide assets and liabilities. However, it can be difficult to know how your spouse will respond until you are immersed in the process. By taking these important steps, you may be more prepared for a potentially negative response from your spouse.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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