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Divorce Preplanning Strategies

Nobody marries expecting to get divorced. Unfortunately, 4 out of 10 marriages today end in divorce. That percentage seems to grow each year. In many divorce proceedings women typically suffer the greatest loss financially. Men typically tend to lose precious time with their children.

There are several simple and logical ways to protect yourself financially if you believe your marriage is in jeopardy:

Keep Non-Marital Assets Separate

Non-marital assets are not part of the assets divided in a divorce. Instead, they are considered the asset of either the husband or the wife and generally awarded to that person in a divorce proceeding. Categories of non-marital assets include:

  • Property you inherit
  • Often proceeds from personal injury awards
  • Items owned prior to marriage
  • Gifts to one party rather than the family

If non-marital assets are commingled with assets purchased or improved during the marriage, it may not be possible to claim the asset as yours in the event of divorce. However, some “tracing” of non-marital assets may be possible. To do so, it is very important to retain all documents demonstrating the sale of the asset and the use of the proceeds realized from the sale.

Establish Your Own Credit

Make sure your name is listed on all household accounts. Establish at least one credit card in your own name. This will help to create an individual credit history. When you are on your own, you will have a better chance qualifying for loans, mortgages and credit cards. These are all important considerations after a divorce.

Know Your Financial Situation

Maintain complete and separate records of your financial holdings such as bank accounts, IRA’s, 401K, land purchases, and stocks. This includes assets in your spouse’s name as well.

Close Joint Accounts

If a divorce is imminent, you should immediately contact joint credit-card companies in writing to freeze or cancel your joint accounts. You do not want to be responsible for your spouse’s new credit card charges. You may also wish to close your joint bank accounts. If any proceeds are removed, keep an accounting of where the money is placed or how the proceeds are spent.

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Underwood Law Offices, Inc. at (304) 522-0508 or toll free 866-523-0499 or submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.