Getting Financially Prepared for Divorce

We've all made financial mistakes. You've probably been short on cash, forgotten to pay a credit card payment, or charged a purchase you shouldn't have. After all, we're a constant work in progress, right?

Marriage is frequently viewed as a romantic mistake, but for many, it's also a financial mistake – and that's a common complaint!

Here are some tips to keep you in good financial shape if your marriage ends in divorce.

1. Gather the important documents.
As soon as you realize that divorce is on the horizon, you should gather all of the necessary financial documents, including tax returns, interest and dividend statements, and year end reports from credit card issuers.

We suggest putting the hard copies someplace safe, such as with a trusted friend or family member, or even a safe deposit box. Hopefully your divorce will be an amicable one, but sometimes things get ugly. By getting these documents early on, you can avoid the time and expense of trying to get the documents later.

2. Stay on top of your credit.
Whether we like it or not, good credit makes life a lot easier. You can't buy a car, rent a house or apartment, or get a mortgage without it. It's best to pull a yearly credit report for you and your spouse but if you haven't done so recently, you want to pull it as soon as possible, and note any errors. Also, keep an eye on any joint credit card statements before they're closed.

3. Have your own bank accounts.
A common problem is when divorcing couples share one checking account, whether it's held jointly or in the name of only one spouse. This is especially a problem when one spouse removes all the funds from the account and removes the other spouse's name from the account, leaving that spouse with no access to the marital funds.

If you're getting divorced, it's important that you have your own bank accounts and credit cards. We also suggest having an emergency fund that only you have access to just in case you need it one day.

Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer!