If you are preparing to divorce, it is likely because you need a change. However, many Colorado spouses are not prepared for the kinds of changes they face after divorce, especially in the area of money. You may be financially comfortable in your marriage, but it is important to understand how quickly this can change, and not always for the better.
Some divorced partners do not realize how difficult their life can be after a divorce if they have not taken care to protect their financial interests throughout the divorce process. This may be especially true if you left your career to raise children, if your spouse earns considerably more than you, or if you fear your spouse may be hiding marital assets.
Before filing for divorce or immediately after learning of your spouse’s intentions, there are things you can do to place yourself in a more positive position for financial security. For example, if you have been out of the work force for some time, it is a good idea to dust off your degree and see what you need to do to make yourself marketable. You may need to go back to school or get some training to increase your earning potential. Other critical steps to take include these:
- Educate yourself about the financial well-being of your marriage, including knowing your spouse’s income and the status of all your bills and debts.
- Inventory all your joint assets by taking pictures of valuables and making copies of account statements.
- Locate and understand information about pensions and retirement accounts for both you and your spouse.
- Get a copy of your credit report as well as your spouse’s so you have full knowledge of your outstanding debts and can begin to improve your creditworthiness.
- Close any joint credit accounts and pay off as much debt as possible. Have your spouse’s name removed from any individual accounts you own.
- Do not add more debt to your credit cards until after the divorce.
- Rent a post office box for receiving financial correspondences.
- Open an individual savings and checking account and keep careful records of what you spend to avoid accusations of dissipating or hiding assets.
While you may be feeling many emotions at this time, it is important that you put some work into your future if you want the best opportunity for a post-divorce life without financial struggles. Your attorney can offer additional suggestions and assist you in fighting for your fair share of marital assets.