Ways to protect your finances during a divorce

Married couples take their vows seriously, but that doesn’t always mean they’ll last happily ever after. Sadly, many New York marriages end up in divorce for a variety of reasons. If you are going through a divorce, you’ll want to take certain steps to protect your finances.

Go through your documents

During a divorce involving complex asset division, it’s wise to go through all your financial documents and accounts to determine what you have and what you owe. Go through your credit card statements, bank accounts, debts and anything else that’s relevant. Determine what’s yours alone and what you share with your spouse.

Separate your finances

Typically, married couples have joint bank accounts. It’s best to separate your finances and withdraw half the money to open your own new savings and checking accounts. Most of the money should be placed into an emergency savings account; deposit at least $1,000 into checking.

Create a budget you can live with

After you’ve gone through your financial documents, you might have a better idea of your financial picture once your divorce is final. Create a reasonable budget for your spending so you can live within your means. If you have to cut out certain expenses, do so.

Open your own credit account

It’s also wise to close any joint credit card accounts you hold with your spouse. This prevents them from potentially racking up massive debt out of habit or spite. Obtain copies of your credit report and study them for possible errors. If there’s anything suspicious listed, report it to the credit bureaus. Open a new credit card account in your name only. If you’re new to having your own credit, gradually work toward building it and then open an account.

You don’t have to go broke during a divorce. Being proactive can help you safeguard your finances.