6 Ways to Protect Yourself When Facing a “Financial Divorce”

by Team Dinks on March 7, 2012 · 6 comments

heart break
(Guest Post by Carrie Smith)

Hello DINKS! My name is Carrie and I’m the financial blogger at Careful Cents.  Today Kristina and I have decided to trade blog posts, I will be blogging here on DINKS Finance, while Kristina will be blogging over at Careful Cents.  So be sure to check out her post and leave a little comment love.

When I found my marriage ending, I was not only faced with emotional problems but with financial ones as well. These days, divorce can mean several different things. Many of us are living with partners, roommates or soon-to-be spouses and have already mingled our finances.

However, in the sad event the relationship ends, it can be hard to salvage what little you have left. Here are 6 ways to protect yourself, when going through an unexpected separation of finances.

1. Yours, Mine and Ours

I can speak from experience when I say, everyone should have a “yours, mine and ours” account when it comes to money. By no means should you hide money or avoid financial responsibility, but each of you should have your own account, plus a joint account.

In the event of a death, sudden accident or divorce, you will still have instant access to your money. This prevents any type of confusion about who gets what (which can happen once lawyers and banks get involved) until everything is sorted out.

2. Update Yourself

If you don’t handle the household finances, now is the time to have a money talk with your spouse, and update yourself. No one likes to be taken for a ride and have an “I didn’t see that coming” moment.

Look over the bank statements, insurance policies and other important financial documents to update yourself. It will make any unexpected situations less stressful if you have control over this part of your life.

3. Stay in Contact with Your Network

Your network of friends, families and co-workers are your best assets right now. They can give you emotional support as well as financial support. They can use their resources to help you find a new place live or a new job.

Keep an updated contact list handy, so you can refer to it quickly. It’s also a good idea to update your resume. During this transitional time in your life, you never know what to expect and it’s important to be prepared.

4. Separate Your Credit and Joint Accounts

Depending on your state’s laws (and if you had a prenup), whatever you acquired during the marriage or partnership is joint property. During the duration of the relationship, many couples take out joint mortgages and car loans. Once you both decide to end things, you need to separate any joint property, like loans or credit cards.

In the case of a mortgage you will likely have to sell the property or refinance it into your partner’s name. You should also check your credit report and remove your significant other from your account. That way, their credit decisions won’t affect you in the future and vice versa.

5. Keep a Paper Trail

Some days, my ex and I were fine talking calmly and sorting through our business, other days we were yelling and threatening. In the event you and your ex can’t discuss anything in a calm fashion, you need to have proof of your decisions.

Sending emails or text messages back and forth, is much better than a verbal agreement. You’ll need a paper trail, in case something bad happens or you’re wrongly accused. This also applies to any transactions with creditors or joint accounts where you are separating your finances.

6. Treat It Like a Business

Whether you’re breaking up with your roommate or going through a divorce, the best way to protect yourself is to treat all your decisions like a business. Stay calm, remove your emotions and try to create a well thought out plan.

Trust me when I say I know it’s hard, and it definitely hurts, but sometimes life is unfair and we just have to do our best. By doing treating the situation like a business, you can avoid a lot of drama.

Final Thoughts

It’s never easy to be faced with an unexpected situation like this, but you can make easier on everyone involved. You probably won’t get out unscathed, but you will be able to lessen the damage. A man or woman that is financially prepared will be able to save a lot of time, money and emotional distress. You will be able to move forward as quickly as possible, so you can live and love again.

(Photo by NDrewC)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristina March 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I think that so many people are caught up in the personal emotions of a divorce that they forget about the personal finances. Great Post Carrie!

2 Julie @ Freedom 48 March 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I think it’s a great idea to plan the “divide” – before the divorce. My husband and I have agreed on who would get what if we ever did split up…. so that if divorce were to happen, we wouldn’t let emotions get in the way of a reasonable division of assets.

3 Carrie - Careful Cents March 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

Kristina – thank you. Money and relationships are generally full of emotions, so it can be difficult to forget about your own well being in the process. But it’s definitely an important factor.

Julie – It sounds like you and your husband have a great line of communication open. Hopefully you will never have to go through a divorce, but it’s better to think of a game plan just in case. Otherwise your left with financial issues on top of all the hurt and pain emotionally.

4 Nicole March 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

My advice (from experience)…fight for what you want before you sign the final divorce papers. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to have some things amended after the fact. My exhusband agreed to alot of things that he regrets now because he was in a hurry to get it done (he had a pregnant girlfriend). But, I was in no hurry and was willing to wait until everything was the way I wanted it. So…now I have our son every christmas morning, I have the tax deduction every year, etc.

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