Posted by callgentry |
Divorce is expensive, but those going through it can take simple steps to protect their finances. At Call & Gentry Law Group, LLC, we have helped many men and women through the divorce process, so we understand the financial hazards our clients confront. Below, our Jefferson City family lawyer lays out 6 simple steps you can take to secure your finances after filing for divorce.
Close Joint Credit Cards
The last thing you want is your spouse to start running up the tab on a credit card once you file divorce papers. Chances are you’ll end up responsible for any debt, since the credit card company won’t care that you are divorcing. If your name is on the card, you’re responsible for the debt.
To protect yourself, call the credit card company and close the account. However, you might need to pay off the balance first. In any event, notify your lawyer of any joint credit cards. We might need to get the judge involved to ensure your spouse doesn’t run up the bill.
Remove Your Spouse as an Authorized User
Instead of getting a joint credit card, you might have simply added your spouse as an authorized user. You can take them off during the divorce. Of course, let them know you are doing this.
Freeze Your Credit Report
Your spouse probably has access to your Social Security Number, which might be listed on any number of documents (like a joint tax return). Armed with this information and your date of birth, they could take out a personal loan or open a credit card in your name. You can prevent this by freezing your credit report.
Separate Your Bank Accounts
Many spouses have joint checking and savings accounts. Again, the risk is that your spouse will suddenly spend all the money in the account. Once it’s gone, it’s gone—and you could struggle to pay your bills as you wait for your divorce to wind its way through court.
Check with your bank to see how you can separate the account. You might need your spouse to agree. Alternatively, you might simply withdraw half and deposit it into an account in your own name. Never take more than you are entitled to. That would make it look like you are exploiting the situation.
If you have direct deposit, remember to notify your employer. You want your checks deposited into your new account.
Ask for Temporary Spousal Maintenance
You might have requested periodic or permanent spousal maintenance as part of your divorce. Even if the judge grants it, however, it won’t kick in until the judge signs off on your divorce decree.
In the meantime, you can request temporary spousal maintenance, which can tide you over for the duration of the divorce. You should request this as soon as you file or, if your spouse filed, when you filed your answer. A judge can grant temporary maintenance even if he or she doesn’t grant maintenance in the final decree.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Inexperienced lawyers are costly. Because they are learning on the job, they make many mistakes which inflate the bill. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone’s training. By hiring the right lawyer, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in expenses.
Contact Call & Gentry for More Ideas
We are happy to meet with anyone contemplating divorce. Protecting our client’s finances is a big part of what we do in each case, and we can offer individualized advice in a free consultation.