If you’re facing the end of your marriage, you are understandably distraught and perhaps frantic. When preparing for divorce, you have so much to think about, so many plans to make, so much legal paperwork and so many things you will be facing now as a single, rather than a couple.
We know, it’s a daunting time. We also know that if you’re afraid that a divorce is pending, you need to take steps before it happens to protect yourself. While we never want to plant the seed of divorce, it is a fact that more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce; because of that, we think that women need to be involved in their finances from the first day of the marriage.
Here are ways you can be proactive in the event you’re preparing for divorce.
- Know where the family financial documents are. You should know where the bank statements are, the mortgage statement, credit card bills, Last Will & Testament, retirement papers, life insurance and other legal documents. Make copies so you always have access to them.
- Monitor and build credit. Many women, once they get married, have joint accounts with their husbands and as such, don’t build their own credit. You should have a bank account and a credit card in your name so you can build credit. If you need to start utilities or rent an apartment, you will need to have a credit history. Sign up for a free credit report and monitor it regularly. I’ve used Credit Karma in the past and have found it very easy to use.
- Assemble your own professional divorce team. You should each retain your own attorneys but I encourage couples to work with a mediator to come to the most agreeable resolution as possible. If you can retain assets and save money by using a divorce mediator, you will both benefit.
If you notice changes in your spouse’s behavior – later work hours, taking phone calls at odd hours, cash leaving your joint accounts with no explanation, you may be seeing signs of an impending divorce. Protect yourself emotionally and financially.