If you and your spouse have decided to get divorced, there are certain financial steps that you need to take in order to protect your financial future and move forward with separating your finances from one another. Ideally, you will be able to work together with your spouse on these steps.
#1 Have Personal Accounts
The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you and your spouse each have separate accounts. You don't need to split all of your assets yet; however, you should both open your own checking and savings account that doesn't have your spouse's name on it. Work together and agree on the amount of money that both of you will take out of your joint account into each of your individual accounts. Ideally, you should both take out the same amount of money.
Working together and sharing information with each other as each open a personal banking account will ensure that neither of you are accused of hiding money during the divorce. You should both build up your personal accounts to ensure that you both have money to cover personal expense and legal fees for a few months.
#2 Close Down Credit Cards
Next, you need to work with your spouse to close down joint credit cards. For any credit cards that you hold together that are paid off, see if you can close the accounts or transfer the account into just one of your names. Talk to the credit agent and see how they can help you with the accounts.
For accounts in which you hold debt, work with your spouse to see if you can settle that debt together before you start divorce proceedings. You can also wait for the divorce proceedings to start and use the court to help determine how to split up the debt. Once the debt is split up, make sure that the credit card is changed to the name of the person who will hold that debt.
Work together to avoid adding any new debt to your credit cards while you start and go through the divorce process.
#3 Change Signature Authority
After that, you want to protect money that you are keeping in a joint account. You can go to the bank and have the signature authority changed so that both of you have to agree to any transactions. This slight change will ensure that your spouse is not able to withdraw all of the money from your accounts that you hold together. This will ensure that any financial decisions regarding your savings are made together.
These are just a few steps to get you started. Try to work together with your spouse to set up individual accounts, close credit cards, change signature authorities, and work together to be as transparent as possible. A divorce lawyer like those with Scott & Scott, PC can be helpful while going through this process.