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Taking charge of your finances before divorce

Most people know that separating your finances forms a crucial part of the divorce process. However, you are likely to encounter problems if you approach your finances with a lack of clarity. Learning about key issues and consulting a knowledgeable attorney can help you stay in good financial shape during and after your divorce. In addition to learning financial skills, taking the following steps can help you during and after your divorce.

The first issue you need to explore is the level of your awareness of family finances. If one spouse manages most of the family's bills and accounts, it can be easy to let things go on that front. You should have access to all bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card statements and all other financial information. You should also stay current on financial activity. Spouses who hide assets frequently begin by making unexplained withdrawals from joint accounts. Tracking activity will allow you to catch any out-of-place activity right away.

Get your own account and credit line

Once you know divorce is in the works, it is time to open a separate account for your own income. If you do not have a credit card, you should open one, as you may need it later. However, do speak with your attorney before using funds that could potentially count as marital property. Any activity that looks like hiding or dissipating joint assets can cause the court to penalize you during the division phase.

Get copies of relevant documents

Make copies of important financial documents. This includes title documents, loan documents, account statements, tax returns, insurance policies and wills. You may not have access to them later, and having them on hand can be vital to identifying and evaluating property.

Even if you believe your divorce will be amicable and your soon-to-be-ex is trustworthy, you cannot rely on him or her to protect your financial interests. Too many people suffer financial loss because they do not bother to take precautions. A qualified divorce attorney can help you safeguard your interests and develop an appropriate strategy for your circumstances.

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