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What can I to protect myself if he files for divorce?

October 2, 2017

No spouse wants to think about a divorce. No matter how rocky the marriage, people are raised to believe that marriage is forever and that spouses should always do their best to stay together. The majority of married people take this legal contract very seriously and exhaust every available option before filing for divorce. A divorce has a lasting impact and takes a serious emotional toll on both parties, so it’s vital to everyone involved that before divorce is considered they try conversations, counseling, and mediation before coming to a final decision. It’s natural for a spouse who is threatened with divorce to wonder what steps to take next. How do you prepare for such a thing?

Protecting yourself before he files

If he’s mentioning divorce frequently and seems to be serious about it, don’t wait until he files to protect yourself. There are serious steps you can take to ensure that you begin taking back “your half” of the marriage to preserve your credit and identity after the marriage is over.

1. Close joint accounts: If you have a spouse that is frequently bringing up the subject of divorce and it’s clear they’re serious about potentially filing, don’t wait until you are served with divorce papers to take charge of what will soon be just your finances. Close joint accounts and begin individual accounts with you as the sole spender.

2. Take charge of tax records: Taxes are one of the single most frustrating aspects of divorce. You might only be married part of the year but for tax purposes, that last year together is going to be considered a whole year. Don’t wait until you’ve got divorce papers in your hand to make sure that you have access to ALL tax records so that you’re not going to face joint consequences if your spouse files in a way that causes later legal trouble.

3. Look at your credit report: It’s shocking sometimes to learn that your spouse has done as much damage to your credit as they have your own. When you’re sharing a life together, that’s fine. You share the burden. When you’re going to be facing life as a single person, things become much different. Your spouse’s spending habits may have negatively impacted your credit rating and you’re going to need to take control of this before it gets even more out of hand. If your spouse tends to open up credit cards in your name AND their own, then you’re going to need to assess the damage before the divorce proceedings begin. Grab a free copy of your credit report and see what you can do to straighten out your finances. This will also be something you can negotiate before the divorce is final.

All of these things will help to protect your sanity and finances during any potential divorce in the future. No one wants to admit that their marriage might not be forever, and it’s okay to try to work things out. But if they’re threatening divorce and seem serious, you’ll need to begin early to take steps that will protect your financial future and your own personal well-being. There’s nothing wrong with starting early before you’re served with papers and are in a full-fledged divorce hearing before accepting what should have been done beforehand.

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