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Should you keep a secret divorce fund?

One thing that people often say when they divorce is that they wish they'd stayed on top of their finances. They may feel like they have little control as the process plays out.

To combat this, some spouses set up a secret fund -- perhaps a bank account in their own name or a safety deposit box -- they can access if they split up. As you'll see, there are pros and cons to doing this.

The downside is that marriages and secrets don't mix well. You may not feel comfortable having a hidden fund before you split up, since you're still hoping the marriage lasts. You don't want to set up a fund in case of divorce, have your spouse find out, and then have that be the reason for the divorce.

You also need to be very careful to disclose any secret funds to the court when you do decide to get divorced. If you don't, you could be breaking the law by hiding assets.

The upside, though, is that you know your spouse doesn't control you financially. He or she may try to cut you off when you file for divorce, but you have the power to go out on your own.

You also know that your spouse has no access to that money. It can't be hidden from you or spent before the divorce, lowering the value of your personal assets. Moreover, if you set up the account before you got married, you can also protect this asset and not lose it in the divorce. This can also apply during your marriage if your spouse likes to spend more than save.

Having a secret fund does make the situation more complex. It's imperative that you know your rights and legal obligations if you chose to create one.

Source: Forbes, "Pros And Cons Of Keeping A Secret Fund In Case You Divorce," Jeff Landers, accessed Jan. 31, 2017

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