If you have determined that it is time to divorce your spouse, then you need to take your future financial life into consideration before you leave your marital home. If you do not take the proper paperwork with you and do not take other steps to preserve your good credit rating, then you will quickly find that your financial life is stressing you out.
To be proactive and avoid unnecessary financial problems post-divorce, follow these tips to protect yourself:
Tip: Copy All of Your Joint Financial Documents and Secure them in a Safety Deposit Box
Before you leave your marital home, you should copy all of your joint financial documents and place them into a safety deposit box at your bank. You must take copies of:
your state and federal income tax returns
your home ownership documents
your retirement accounts
your investment accounts
your bank accounts
In addition, you also need to take copies of each of your monthly bills. If there are utilities in your name, then your spouse will need to change the accounts over to their own name when you move out. If this doesn't happen in a timely manner, you will need the account information on your past statement to contact them and remove your own personal liability.
Tip: Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
Since you can get a free copy of your credit report once each year, you should take advantage of this and pull a copy of your credit report. Examine the report and if there are any errors, then you should follow the credit reporting agency's policy to have them removed. This is very important because you will need a good credit rating to rent an apartment and get a job, so cleaning up your credit report will raise your score.
Tip: Open New Savings and Checking Accounts
Since it is important to keep your financial live separate from your spouse once you leave, you must have new savings and checking accounts to deposit your money into. Since your life will be a bit more hectic when you leave, you should set these accounts up ahead of time if at all possible.
Tip: Purchase Disability Insurance if Your Don't Have it Through Work
Finally, since you will only have your own income to live on once you have left your marital home, you should purchase an inexpensive disability insurance policy. This policy will cover you in case you become disabled and cannot work. This is vital when you rely solely on your own income.
In addition to these things, talk with a divorce attorney for more advice.