You’re absolutely done with your marriage, and you know it. Maybe your spouse already knows what’s coming, maybe they don’t — but you need to look after your own interests.
There’s so much to do when you’re untangling your life from a spouse that it’s hard to know where to start, but the smart move is to attend to your finances as fast as possible. Here are some steps you can take:
- Set up a new bank account. Go to a new bank (not the one you previously shared with your spouse) and open an account in your own name. It’s time to stop any direct deposits from going into a joint account so that you don’t have to worry that your spouse will deplete the funds.
- Get credit on your own. Look at your credit cards and figure out if you have any that aren’t jointly held. Unless you already have your own credit, it’s time to establish some so that you’ll be in a better position in the future.
- Do a financial inventory. You need to make copies of all the tax returns, business records, bank statements, mortgage information, wills, insurance policies and investments. Don’t assume that your spouse will turn things over later.
- Start securing the money you need. You’ll need access to some money to move and start over. You also need to pay your attorney fees. Don’t let your spouse put you in a position where you can be cut off from all the available funds.
- Open a post office box. If you and your spouse are still living together, you may not want them to pick through your mail and look at any confidential information. A P.O. box can protect your privacy.
Protecting your interests in a divorce can be hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone. An early consultation with an experienced attorney can pave the way for a better, more successful process.