When couples tie the knot, they do so with the intention of staying together forever. On your wedding day, were you thinking about divorce? When you’re in love and filled with the promise of spending your life with the one you love, the mere thought of a separation or divorce feels crazy and outlandish.
However, as the years roll by, people and circumstances will change. Today in Arkansas and across the United States, over 40% of marriages end in divorce. As difficult as divorce is mentally and emotionally, it may be even more challenging financially. If you’re headed for a divorce or have recently gone through one, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself financially.
Monitor your credit report
It doesn’t matter if you shared accounts with your spouse or had separate financial accounts, you were legally bound to your spouse and therefore exposed to his or her actions. Even if your former spouse was trustworthy, it doesn’t mean he or she didn’t make mistakes. The fact is, anything the spouse did that damaged their credit could have affected your credit as well.
Credit card companies don’t care if you’re going through a divorce. If you’re on a joint account, you’ll still be liable for any debt your spouse takes on. If you have the funds to pay off your joint credit card accounts, do so as soon as possible and then close the accounts. However, if you don’t have the money right now, you can always split the debt, transfer it to individually held cards and then cancel the joint accounts. The main goal here is to avoid keeping joint accounts.
Look to the future
As you are in the process of negotiating your divorce, it may be helpful to also get a financial picture of what single life will look like. Doing a cash flow analysis will allow you to feel a sense of control over your financial future. A good way to do this is by adding the income streams you’ll have post-divorce and then subtracting your expenses. If you’re coming up short, you can start eliminating discretionary items to save money. If you have a surplus, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Divorce can often come with many challenges. Fortunately, with the right support group on your side, you can typically minimize the emotional and financial impact that your divorce has on your life both in the short- and long-term. For example, a trusted legal representative can help make the tough legal decisions that will inevitably arise, providing you with much-needed peace of mind and allowing you a smoother transition into the future.