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Women and Divorce: Protecting Your Finances and Your Future

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Friday, December 4, 2015


Divorce is a stressful time. And, it’s even more so for women who typically don’t have the same financial resources that their male spouses do. Here’s how to gain the independence you need.

Get Your Own Bank Account

Step one is to separate your finances from your spouse’s. You should set up your own bank account, pronto. Getting your own bank account will help you establish your own savings, make you more aware of your own finances, and help you form new financial habits – all of which are necessary now that you’re divorced.

Assess Your Credit

Check your credit report and score using annualcreditreport.com. Staying on top of your credit report is important because it’s likely that, now that you and your spouse are splitting, your credit will take a hit. This is especially true if you’re closing your mutual bank account, you’re struggling to pay off your mutual debts, and you end up having to sell off the house or you’re fighting over who owes what bills.

Unfortunately, it’s common for one spouse to either neglect or outright refuse to pay some of the bills that are mutually owed. When this happens, you’re on the hook for, and are punished by, your spouse’s actions – even though you’re in the process of getting divorced.

Split Up Assets Evenly

This is where a good divorce attorney can help. For example, Rodriguez-Nanney meets with divorced couples fairly regularly and finds that some of the most complex decisions involve splitting up of marital assets. Depending on the state you live in, it can be easy or difficult.

If you have a prenuptial agreement, it’s a fair bit easier.

If you don’t, you often have to negotiate with your spouse over how to split up the joint assets. And, while it might sound logical to split up assets evenly, it’s common for at least one spouse to want more than his or her “fair share.” This is why lawyers are brought in – to even the playing field and help you get everything you’re entitled to.

For example, if you’re owed spousal support, you should get it. If the house is in both your names, you should get half of it – either your spouse sells the home or pays you half the equity.

Sell Assets You Can’t Afford To Maintain

If you have a vehicle that’s costing you too much money every month, it’s probably time to face the facts and sell it. Likewise, if you are getting half of a house that you can’t afford, you should probably work with your former spouse to sell the home so that you can collect half the proceeds of the house.

If your spouse isn’t willing to sell the home, then you should be paid half the equity for it.

Protecting Your Financial Future

It’s easy to forget about things like wills, trusts, and life insurance. But, if you’ve committed to a divorce, you’re not in the clear until your financial future is protected. Change the beneficiary on all of your bank accounts, investments and investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, and change your will or trust to reflect your marital status.

Ms. Rodriguez-Nanney received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1997. While in Law School, Ms. Rodriguez-Nanney was a member of the Maryland Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues, a member of the Latino Law Student’s Association and volunteered with the Public Justice Center, Inc. Ms. Rodriguez-Nanney is an experienced immigration attorney. She also handles domestic matters such as adoptions, custody disputes and divorce proceedings and understands the intricacies of domestic law.

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