Divorce is extremely tough, especially the factors that come along with it. Worrying about children and experiencing a life change are two major factors. However, add the worry of finances to that mix and divorce can become almost unbearable.
Still, the worry about finances cannot be avoided, and Louisiana residents shouldn't hesitate to call on a professional for help. In a recent article, a financial planner shared tips on how to protect money in the case of a divorce.
- Hire an experienced attorney: Don't just look in the phone book or check out ads. Ask friends for names and recommendations. Gather names and don't settle for just one recommendation. Once you have a collection of names, interview at least three attorneys. Since they will work for you, treat it like a job interview. Remember that this is someone who will hear the more private details of your life. You must establish a comfort zone.
- Close the joint accounts and open separate ones, when possible: Divorcing spouses each should have their own bank accounts and credit cards. When two people sign for a credit card, they both are liable for the debt. Don't let the spouse charge up the cards on the way out the door, leaving you responsible for half the debt.
- Don't think mediation will yield a fair result: The mediator is there not to advocate for one part or another, rather to reach a friendly settlement. While the settlement might seem fair at the mediation table, it could wind up favoring one party. A lawyer will advocate instead for the client, protecting his or her assets and interests.
- Find out all you can about assets and debts: Each spouse needs to know about things such as retirement accounts since they can be thought of as marital property.
- Change your will: You probably don't want to leave all of your assets to your ex-spouse. In most states, a former spouse cannot serve as an estate executor, so you will want to make sure you have the proper person in that role.
Source: Business Insider, "Here's What Everyone Should Do To Protect Their Money In A Divorce," Jill Krasny, May 31, 2012