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How To Protect Your Financial Assets During A Divorce
Initiating and going through a divorce can be the most stressful and trying time in your life. With your judgment clouded by emotion, you may not take all of the steps necessary to protect your finances. However, financial considerations during your divorce are important if you want to quickly get back on your feet after the divorce is finalized.
Identify Your Personal Valuables
The first step you should take is to identify personal assets. These assets include family heirlooms and gifts. Many courts will consider items you bought for yourself community property.
After you have identified your personal valuables, inventory them and take photos. It is also a good idea to call an independent appraiser. Finally, separate these items from the household by storing them in a secure, remote location, such as a safe deposit box.
Inventory Community Property
Inventory all items you jointly own with your spouse, take photos of them and have them appraised. Keep the photos in a secure location. When you have the appraisals done, be sure that you are getting the replacement value instead of the current market value.
Close Joint Accounts
Close any joint bank accounts and joint credit card accounts you have with your spouse. In the case of bank accounts, do not spend any of the money. Keep strict records of the accounts because they will be necessary to reach a settlement.
Gather All Financial Records
Gather all of your financial records, and make photocopies in case something happens to the originals. Important documents you need to copy include the following:
- Tax returns for the past three years
- Retirement plans
- Investment accounts
- Business documents, such as balance sheets, income statements and tax documents
Call A Divorce Attorney
Calling an experienced divorce attorney is the most important step in protecting your assets. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to provide you with valuable legal and financial advice. He or she will also be able to file requests for court orders during the divorce if your spouse is unfairly preventing you from accessing personal or joint assets.