Doís and Doníts When Youíre thinking of Divorce
If it looks like your marriage may be heading for divorce, you need to educate yourself about family finances so you donít end up getting the short end of the stick when the split comes.
Spending time to learn about your property, accounts, debts, insurance and other financial information will help you save legal fees as well as making the process go more smoothly and help protect you from an unfair settlement. Here are some things you need to do:
- Check all mail coming in to the house and write down names and addresses of anything having to do with financial issues such as credit card companies, insurance companies, investment companies, and bills.
- Make sure you receive all your personal mail by getting a post office box, or sending your mail to a friend or relative. Be sure and notify the post office of your new address.
- Look at tax returns and make copies of last 5 years returns filed jointly or separately. Also make sure taxes have been paid.
- Look at bank statements, credit card statements, investment account statements, retirement, pension, 401K accounts, other billing statements, and make copies.
- Look at the contents of any safe deposit box and make a list of the items including cash and jewelry and any collections.
- Look at and make copies of financial statements or information about any business interests you or your spouse is involved in.
- Open a personal account in your name only.
- Notify creditors that you no longer guarantee any future debt your spouse creates.
- If all your credit is joint, and if you can qualify on your own-- itís a good idea to get a credit card in your name only so youíll have it available for emergencies.
- Make any large purchases or become obligated on new loans with your spouse.
- Mix inheritances into joint accounts. Make sure you put them in a separate personal account.
- Quit your job if youíre employed.
- Agree to your spouse transferring ownership or pledging any marital property to another party.
- Separate from your spouse if he or she is about to get a higher paying job or promotion. Wait until that occurs because the increase in income while youíre still together may be considered in determining alimony and/or child support.
- Move out before talking to your attorney. (Of course if your safety or that of your childrenís is at stake and you canít talk to your attorney first, donít risk staying in a dangerous situation)
by Ed Geary, Attorney at Law
5601 NW 72nd
Oklahoma City, OK