Financially P-R-O-T-E-C-T Yourself
If you are contemplating or currently going through a separation or divorce, money is probably one of your greatest concerns. Even if you were not the spouse responsible for the finances in your marriage – money, assets, debts and liabilities are probably now at the top of your mind.
Divorce can be very emotional and the added stress of dealing with financial issues can make the whole process overwhelming.
Here are a few steps to help you navigate the rocky path to divorce.
- P is for Protect – Protect your assets. Make sure accounts that were held jointly with your spouse are closed – including bank accounts, credit cards and lines of credit. Joint accounts usually require only one signature – make sure you know what’s going on.
- R is for Reduce – Reduce spending. Look at your monthly pre-authorized payments and see where you can cut costs. Cancel subscriptions, cable or special TV stations you don’t use and insurance policies that no longer fit your needs. Eliminate department store credit cards that charge a high rate of interest.
- O is for Own – Have your own credit card and bank account. Always keep one credit card and one bank account in your name only, regardless of your marital status. Why? You never know what might happen. Simplify your finances by keeping only two credit cards active. Why two? If your primary card is used fraudulently, becomes damaged or loses its magnetic strip, you may have to destroy it before a new card and account can be issued.
- T is for Talk – Talk to someone you can trust about money matters. It might be your financial advisor, a bank representative, a sage relative or even your lawyer. The more you know about your finances, the better able you will be to make decisions in mediation or in court. Take notes if you find it confusing. Get set up online so you can manage and see your accounts.
- E is for Educate – Make it your business to find out what your assets are. Talk to your bank; look through files; actually read the mail. Find out about your RRSP’s, pensions, stocks and RESP’s (if you have children). Even though you and your spouse may have verbally agreed to respect each other throughout the process, it may not turn out that way.
- C is for Check-up – You have your teeth cleaned twice a year. When was the last time you had a lawyer check your will? Chances are you need to update your will, beneficiaries and powers of attorney (one for property and one for personal care).
- T is for Time – Be patient with yourself as you learn new things on the path to divorce. If you have been able to settle your affairs in mediation – lucky you! You have saved time and money.
If not, the process will end eventually. Meanwhile keep your payments up to date, your own credit record as clean as possible and resolve to be better prepared financially for the rest of your life.
Written By: Ann Morrison, Trained Professional Organizer
About the Author:
Ann is the proud owner/operator of RealStyle which provides Wardrobe Consulting for men and women and Professional Organizing Services for home and office. She also blogs regularly on fashion and style. http://www.realstyle.ca
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