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How do you protect assets at the end of an abusive marriage?

An abusive marriage is tough enough. Many people endure domestic violence and stay in a marriage in the hopes of making it work. Many times, though the union doesn’t last. So what do people do about their assets if such a marriage ends and ex-spouses continue abusive patterns?

It can be particularly difficult for abused women to become independent of their ex-husbands. The Huffington Post offers an interesting article about what people should do in that kind of situation. The piece offers a few guidelines about protecting assets. Here are a few of them.

• Get a new credit card. You can likely open a new account by calling the credit card company and explaining your situation or even sending them related court orders.

• Open a new bank account in your name only. To make sure your money stays yours, particularly your paycheck, it’s important to break away from the joint bank accounts.

• Change your PIN numbers. Here’s a good way to remember it: if a situation is bad enough that you change the locks on your doors to protect yourself against an ex, you should probably change your PIN codes too.

• Take your name off joint debt accounts. This is pretty self-explanatory.

• Keep copies of important documents, including bank statements and birth certificates.

• On that note, establish private communication. This can be accomplished by getting a personal post office box and a new, private email account.

What do you think? Are there other ways people should be protecting their assets?

Source: Huffington Post, “Seven steps to protect your assets when leaving an abusive marriage,” Jeffrey A. Landers, Oct. 31, 2011

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