Divorce may be brutal, and with the divorce rate hovering between 40-50 percent, it is clearly a problem that is not going away any time soon. While you may have married with the idea that you would raise a family and be together forever, this may not be your reality. If it is not, and you choose to end your marriage, it is vital that you protect yourself in every way before, during and after the proceedings. This is particularly important when it comes to your financial assets.
1. Be practical rather than sentimental
You may be attached to your home and think the sentimental value cannot be matched, but it is important to stay practical when you assess your assets. Consider the liquid value of your home or car, and determine if it is financially smart for you to hold on to certain things. Even if you love the house, if you cannot afford to maintain it, it will eventually become a huge drain on your finances.
2. Put your credit rating first
Married couples often borrow money together, or open joint credit accounts. Any debts you have accrued during your marriage should be paid off and the account closed as quickly as possible. Keep close track of your credit report and remove your name from any joint accounts if they are not closed. Open new, separate accounts quickly. If your spouse is authorized to use any of your cards, call the bank or credit card company and have him or her removed immediately. If your spouse goes on a spending spree with your card before you are aware, you may end up holding the bill.
3. Change your passwords
You probably do not even realize how many things your spouse has access to. If you use the same password frequently or have shared access to your accounts, he or she will still have it after the divorce if you do not remember to change them. Change passwords for bank accounts, emails, social media accounts and any other site you regularly use that requires a login. Use a neutral password that your spouse will not be able to guess.
4. Consult an attorney
Whether it is child support, alimony or splitting your assets, the divorce process can be complicated and emotionally taxing. To ensure that your best interests are protected despite your emotional state, consult with an attorney before you start the divorce proceedings, and allow your attorney to handle the financial details associated with ending your marriage.