Some people may find it difficult to imagine a future without their spouse. But if you are getting a divorce, your future is at stake. While you start considering where you will live and which friends will take your side, take a long hard look at your financial future. Will you flourish financially after the divorce is final? That depends on the steps you take before and during your divorce.
Protecting Your Financial Future Before the Divorce
If you are planning to initiate the divorce, you have a little more time to get ready. If you suspect your spouse is planning to make a move, you can avoid being blindsided. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Organize your financial matters. Know what you and your spouse have and where it is located.
- Gather your records. Get copies of all financial records and try to store them away from home. If your spouse was the person in charge of finances, you might have to quietly search for tax returns, bank statements, and investment account statements. Don’t forget Social Security and retirement accounts.
- Avoid adding any community debt. Buying a house or any other high ticket items might hurt your financial future if you think you will be leaving soon.
- Consider applying for a credit card in your name only. It might be difficult to get new credit right after your divorce. However, that’s when you might need it the most.
- Start a bank account in your own name. You can start depositing money to build up an emergency account.
As you start building your financial future, consider getting a P.O. box to protect your privacy.
We have to mention this: you cannot hide finances from your spouse during your divorce. However, your spouse is not allowed to do that either.
Watch for Financial Disclosures and Shenanigans During Your Divorce
California law requires that both parties to the divorce file full financial disclosures during a divorce proceeding. This information helps the court with property division, spousal support, and child support.
- Carefully review your spouse’s financial disclosures. Is your spouse honestly declaring income, assets, and debts? Compare your spouse’s claims with your records to look for discrepancies.
- Is your spouse hiding income or assets? For example, you may see signs that your ex-spouse spending above their income. Unfortunately, hiding income is common. Quietly reviewing your spouse’s social media can help.
Also, this is still a time to keep an eye on your own finances.
- Watch your spending. Making a budget based on your current finances could help preserve your financial future.
- Check your credit report. Take action immediately if you see unusual changes. You could be the victim of identity theft, or your spouse could be doing things that will harm your financial future.
It may seem easier to give in to your spouse’s demands instead of sticking up for yourself. But taking just a few precautions with the assistance of your divorce lawyer can help you have a better financial future.
Protecting Your Financial Future Is Possible.
After the divorce is final, make sure you remove your ex-spouse’s name from your financial accounts. Take time to review your current financial situation and make necessary adjustments to your budget.
Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.