Ending a marriage is far from just another legal process. The emotional side of divorce can easily distract you from some of the more important decisions that you will soon be facing, particularly when it comes to money. Protecting your finances during divorce is essential regardless of what emotions you might be struggling with.
This is because decisions that you make during a divorce do not just affect you right now. What you decide to do with your money now will also make a difference in the future. Just a handful of decisions can be the difference between future financial security and years of struggling. Understanding your joint and personal finances is the first step in this process.
Checked your credit report recently?
Your credit report can reveal a lot of useful information. You should be sure to begin regularly monitoring your credit reports as soon as possible during a divorce as this will give you an initial picture of where your finances stand. Monitoring your report and credit score is almost always helpful, but it is especially smart if:
- You or your spouse has a lot of debt.
- Your spouse has a gambling problem.
- Your spouse is untrustworthy.
Your report will also show you any accounts to which your name is attached. If you share any joint accounts with your spouse, consider taking steps to close them. This will help prevent your spouse from incurring a lot of debt in your name or from draining your accounts, which will put you in a difficult financial position.
How much should you get?
It is not always easy to figure out how much of the marital finances you are entitled to. First, you have to determine which assets are separate and which are marital. Barring extenuating circumstances — such as a prenuptial agreement — income from either of you will probably be considered a marital asset. Whether from a job or an income generating asset, you are entitled to at least a portion of these funds. They will also factor into things like child or spousal support orders.
Of course your finances are not just about how much money you are bringing in or what is in your checking account. Your savings accounts — including retirement funds — will face division also. Closing these accounts before or during divorce is not always realistic though, so it may be prudent to require approval from both you and your spouse for withdrawals.
Being amicable is helpful
You probably did not decide to get divorced because you get along so well with your spouse. However, that does not mean it is not worth trying to maintain civility now. The more dedicated the two of you are to keeping things amicable, the less likely you are to end up in a lengthy — and expensive — court battle.
Working together to navigate through Minnesota family law is not necessarily easy. During this difficult and confusing period of life you would probably be better off working closely with an experienced attorney who understands your rights and needs. Therefore, seeking help before filing for divorce should be a priority.