- Cancel jointly owned credit cards. Inform your spouse that you are cancelling joint credit accounts. If you continue to maintain such accounts, you will most likely be liable for debt incurred by your spouse. You can freeze accounts by telling the credit card company you are going through a divorce.
- Protect your savings. If you have joint checking or savings accounts, inform your spouse (in writing!) that you are removing one half of the balance of the account. Place the money you have removed in another financial institution in your own name. Keep records of the amount deposited and removed. You will likely have to account for it.
- Compile and safeguard financial records. Gather documentation to prove ownership of all cash, assets, and real estate. You will need to provide the court and your attorney with an exhaustive list of your interests. Store such information in a place that your spouse cannot access (e.g. a safe deposit box).
- Modify your trust or will. If you have a trust or a will listing your spouse as the beneficiary and you no longer wish to leave them with your estate, consult with an attorney to prepare documents naming another individual as executor and/or beneficiary.
- Safeguard your personal property. If you have valuable jewelry, heirlooms, art, or other tangible objects that you owned before the marriage or later acquired through a gift, inheritance, or devise, store it in a safe place outside of the family home.
- Document all marital property. Inventory all items acquired during the marriage. Use a video camera and record all items in the house. Gather receipts or other proof of purchases made wherever possible.
The preceding suggestions are no substitute for legal advice. The best thing you can do to protect your assets when you are facing the prospect of divorce is to consult a licensed attorney.
Originally posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:02 PM.