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Managing finances in divorce

One of the main goals of every divorce is to arrive at an equitable division of the marital assets. Note that this does not mean an even split. In many cases, one person will be entitled to more assets than the other. Those involved in the divorce process can spend a great deal of time and energy determining how this split should be made.

Though the process can be challenging, it can be simplified somewhat if each spouse has a clear idea of the family's finances. It is important, therefore, that spouses take control of their finances when the decision to divorce has been made.

Divorcing spouses should be sure to close joint bank accounts and credit cards, and separate buying and spending. This will not only make you aware of the state of your family's finances, it will also protect you from an unscrupulous spouse who may attempt to waste joint funds or run up enormous debts in both of your names.

Separating joint accounts and credit cards isn't the only action that should be taken as the divorce process begins. Spouses should also consider their life insurance policy -- if it is designed to pay out in your spouse's name, you may want to have it altered or discontinued.

The divorce process can be complex, especially for high-asset couples, but it can be made much simpler if both spouses enter the proceedings with a solid understanding of the family's assets and finances. It is also important that both spouses act respectfully and resist the urge to take revenge on the other spouse by spending wastefully; this behavior harms both spouses and needlessly complicates the divorce proceedings.

Source: ABC News, "How to Protect Your Finances in a Divorce" AJ Smith, Mar. 31, 2014

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