You've decided to file for divorce. It's time to contact an attorney at a firm like Backus Law Group. If you've decided to move out of the family home, or if you don't trust your spouse to behave fairly, there are a few things you're going to need to do. Here are four steps you should take to protect your finances while you proceed through the divorce process.
Take Your Name off the Rental Agreement
If you and your spouse are renters, you need to remove your name from the rental agreement as soon as you move out. Keeping your name on the agreement will make you legally responsible for any damages that your spouse may cause. Not only that, but you'll be legally responsible for the rent if your spouse suddenly stops making those payments.
Document Your Account Information
If you share assets or debts with your spouse, such as bank accounts or vehicles, you need to document that account information. This should include the names, phone numbers and account numbers for all your shared assets. Failure to have access to that information will make it difficult during the settlement negotiations, especially if you're planning on having those assets and debts divided equally between you and your spouse.
Contact Your Joint Creditors
Once you and your spouse have separated, it's important that you notify your joint creditors as soon as possible. If you share credit cards or bank accounts, you'll want to have those accounts frozen until your attorney can negotiate a divorce settlement for you. Failure to freeze the accounts could result in your spouse running up additional debts that you'll be responsible for paying. It's also a good idea to have your credit card company and bank send you verification of the account balances at the time you place the freeze on the accounts.
Make Copies of Your Vital Financial Documents
When it comes time to negotiate a settlement, you're going to need as much financial documentation as possible. This will include access to tax returns, life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Before you move out of the house, make two copies of all your vital financial documents. Keep one set of copies for yourself and give the other set of copies to your divorce attorney. They'll need those documents to negotiate a fair settlement for you.
Don't take chances with your financial future. The information provided here will help you protect yourself financial now that you're filing for divorce.