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Financial checklist for divorcing Baton Rouge spouses

Baton Rouge married couples who decide to end a marriage may not feel like dealing with issues like property rights. Prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial contracts can help avoid financial disagreements during the emotionally unsettling time of divorce. When no agreement exists, divorcing couples are bound to divide marital property under Louisiana community property laws.

Spouses can take steps to make the financial split easier for themselves and a former partner. It's necessary for both parties to identify separate property and place a value on shared assets and debts. Determining asset worth may not be easy without a financial advisor's help, since some assets have fluctuating values like stocks, real estate and retirement accounts.

Financial consultants recommend freezing joint lines of credit and moving toward establishing individual credit card, brokerage and other accounts. Determine income from all sources. Examine the state of your creditworthiness by requesting a credit report.

Some assets may require a professional valuation, especially when you try to figure the immediate and future value of a pension, investment, business or property. Tax implications must be figured in to assess the bottom-line value of assets.

Learn what penalties apply should the divorce require the partial or full liquidation of a pension plan or other time-sensitive investment. Keep in mind the calculations you make now may affect personal finances long into the future. While budgeting for a separate life, take into consideration how child or spousal support payments -- paid or received -- will affect finances.

Draw up a list of expenses associated with the life you're planning. Update estate plans and other documents that list beneficiaries. Reassess insurance plans.

Even though the separation process feels more emotional than financial, there's no getting around these important and unavoidable tasks during divorce. Legal and financial assistance is available to help Baton Rouge spouses resolve these issues fairly, so future disputes and litigation are avoided.

Source: Investopedia, "How To Manage Your Finances Through A Divorce" Leslie Kramer, May. 16, 2014

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