While dealing with the emotional side of divorce is probably your top concern when you’re in the middle of it, you must focus on the money side as well to safeguard your financial future. The income that used to support just one household must now support two households, so you need to have a firm grasp on your financial health in order to do more than survive from paycheck to paycheck.
Here are 6 financial tips you should follow during a divorce:
- Close any joint accounts.
You need to close any joint accounts with your ex’s name on them and open your own banking accounts. In addition, if you have credit cards that list your ex as an authorized user, be sure to remove him or her from those accounts.
- Open new accounts.
After you have closed all joint accounts, you need to open accounts in your name only. Set up auto pay from those accounts for your bills so you don’t miss a payment, which could negatively impact your credit score.
- Update marital status.
You will need to update your marital status on your income taxes, driver’s license, property titles, health insurance, utility bills, etc.
- Update your will.
If you have a will or other estate planning documents, these need to be updated to remove your spouse as an heir. If he or she has power of attorney rights or is named as your health care agent, those need to be changed as well. You don’t want your ex making important decisions for you after the divorce is final.
- Change your beneficiary forms.
When it comes to who will inherit retirement accounts, life insurance, or investment accounts, a beneficiary form trumps a will. If you have named your ex as beneficiary, those forms must be updated to replace him or her with someone else. Contact the administrator on those accounts to make the necessary changes.
- Obtain your own credit.
If you do not have credit cards in your own name, it’s time to get those so you can establish your own credit separate from your ex. As long as you use these wisely and pay on time, you’ll have a good start on having your own credit history that you may need in the future to purchase a new home or car, or obtain a loan.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.