Four Ways to Prepare for a Divorce
Divorce can be a complicated, painful, and expensive process. As with most things, some planning ahead can help make the process smoother, and possibly save you from negative financial consequences of a spurned spouse. Here are four ways to prepare for a divorce:
1. Run your credit report, and consider getting credit monitoring
Many people discover that their spouse has been accruing debt under joint accounts upon filing for divorce. Checking your credit report can allow you to discover any secret debts before you file. If you’re concerned about your spouse accruing additional debt under both your names after you file, or opening new lines of credit while he or she still has the ability to do so jointly, use a credit monitoring service so that you learn of these expenditures as early as possible.
2. Open a separate checking account
Many spouses use joint checking accounts during their marriage, but find themselves frozen out of accessing their own money by an angry spouse, or, worse, find that their spouse has withdrawn a vast share of the funds from an account after learning of the divorce. Open your own checking account to which your spouse does not have access to ensure that you will have access to the money you need, when you need it.
3. Begin collecting important documents
In order to prepare for a divorce filing, you will need to establish a thorough picture of your finances, including both assets and debts accrued as a couple, as well as evidence of separate property of your own that should not be divided along with joint marital property. Begin to collect and make copies of important documents such as recent tax returns, pay stubs, loan origination documents, credit card and bank statements, retirement account information, and titles to property you own, as well as any documents that might help to establish that certain property should be considered separate.
4. Obtain your own credit card
If, during your marriage, you and your spouse largely relied on joint accounts or accounts in your spouse’s name, consider opening your own credit card before a divorce has a chance to hurt your credit score. This will offer you a way to build up a separate credit history, and provide a safety net for the expenses of a divorce.
If you are considering a divorce in Illinois, begin planning to ensure the best possible outcome by speaking with the experienced Chicagoland family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt at 630-665-9600.