Even when parting ways on amicable terms, divorces can be messy. When it comes down to dividing the assets, relinquishing certain financial investments, and deciding on custody of children and pets, emotions can run high. These emotions can cause those amicable intentions to go sour over time. The longer the divorce process, the more likely this becomes.
While you can never really predict how messy divorce can be, you can put certain things in place to protect yourself. This is the case whether you are the party who wants to retain your assets or the party who took care of the home so your ex could obtain them. Here are just a few steps to protect your best interests.
Separate Individual Assets
A marriage is a combination of not just two lives, but two sets of assets. In preparation for divorce, it is essential to decide what assets and debts are non-marital. These may include settlements from a civil suit, inherited real estate, or a car loan taken out before the wedding. Also, in some instances, one person may have sold their assets to provide a shared benefit. For example, a woman may have sold her car or condo to assist with a house down payment or to put her husband through school―this will need to be accounted for.
Additionally, if you are the primary breadwinner in the family, you may be concerned about your ex withdrawing all the money or running up credit card bills. The best solution to this problem is to close joint accounts. If your ex relies on you financially, you may want to make alternative arrangements before closing the account, or they may grow desperate later on to protect their own financial interests via alimony or child support.
Build Your Financial Stability and Credit
For the spouse who was not the breadwinner, chances are your credit history also took a toll. Not using your credit can often be just as bad as misusing it. Maybe you never even built a credit history at all. The house, cars, and any other debt may have been on your spouse’s credit accounts. You will need to resolve this issue quickly, so that you are able to secure your own credit card, home, and car if necessary, after separation. Ask your bank about a secured credit card to get started.
Another aspect of building financial stability is conserving. Combining two incomes helps couples to afford things they may otherwise not be able to provide alone, such as a $500,000 house or a luxury SUV. Prepare for separation by downsizing and cutting expenses wherever possible.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Your preparation may come to naught if your divorce makes it to a courtroom. If your ex contests the divorce, then you may have to make your case. Once a judge is involved, there is no telling what your ex may walk away with and what you could lose. To ensure you are prepared for the possibility of this happening, it is a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer with plenty of experience in the field. They can advise you from the earliest stages of divorce on how to secure your best interests. Therefore, if you do get dragged into the courtroom, you already have legal representation.
At the Law Offices of SeilerSchindel, PLLC, we have been handling Minnesota family law cases for many years. We handle not just divorce, but the many aspects that often get tied into divorce cases, such as child custody, alimony, and prenuptial agreements for the proactive newlyweds-to-be. If you are in need of legal counsel regarding your impending divorce, contact the Law Offices of SeilerSchindel, PLLC to schedule a consultation today.