Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Protecting your financial status during a divorce

Researchers in a number of states have found that March and August are peak times for divorce in the United States. The University of Washington reported that couples have a tendency to divorce when Christmas or summer vacations don't go as planned. If you and your spouse and planning to separate, you need to be aware of how a divorce can financially impact your life so that you can protect yourself as much as possible.

In order to make sure that your finances are secure, you will first need to determine what you have in terms of marital assets. Tax returns, bank statements, property records and other financial data can provide you with the information you need. The judge handling your divorce will split your property equitably, or fairly, between you and your spouse. You will also need to update your beneficiaries to reflect the divorce so that your ex-spouse doesn't end up with all of your life insurance or retirement benefits. A qualified domestic relations order, or "QDRO," may be used by the court to divide up your retirement savings. You should know that QDROs can impact the portion of your ex-spouse's 401(k), pension and other benefits that you receive later on.

With so much going on, paying your credit card bill may be the last thing on your mind during a divorce. However, it is very important that you keep up with the bills, particularly those you share with your spouse. Failing to make timely payments can take a toll on your credit score and make it more difficult for you to secure more credit when you officially separate.

Keeping good records and being knowledgeable about your finances will make the difficult divorce process much easier.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Victim of 'Divorce Season'? Protect Your Finances," March 30, 2017

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