If you are in the early stages of a divorce, or perhaps you are thinking that one is necessary, you are probably wondering how you can protect your finances and assets. This is a perfectly natural fear. You hear awful divorce stories all the time where someone loses everything to their other half, and you want to avoid this happening to you. The first thing you indeed to do is remain calm and think logically. You can, no matter how difficult it seems, come up with a plan for anything as long as you keep a level head and quell your expectations. Messy divorces can be very time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive. So, it is in your best interests to do everything you can to protect yourself before the negotiations begin. Remember, if you do not have a prenuptial agreement, there are ways to mitigate the damage.
The first thing you should do is begin researching the law and discovering just what exactly your rights are. Forewarned is forearmed. You are far better able to make a plan and begin dissolving the contracts if you understand the law and all the nuances and facets appropriate to you and your judicial area. Having a strong concept of where you stand will enable you to begin taking the right course of action as soon as you possibly can. It will mean you can stand firm against a barrage of opposing information.
It is also in your best interest to seek advice from the professionals. If you know the process is going to get heated and messy, you are going to need to get some support. Perhaps discussing the law with a narcissist divorce lawyer could be a good way to go if your partner is particularly stubborn and does not understand your feelings. These very traits may be the reason why you are divorcing them in the first place. However, it does not matter what personality type your partner has. If there is substantial money, assets, and children involved seeking professional advice and guidance is a must.
Start Cutting Financial Ties
If you have a shared bank account, you are both liable for the debt that has been accrued on it, even if it is being run up by your partner. You need to separate this joint account as soon as you possibly can, so no future debt can be accredited to you. This may mean you have to pay off the debt on the joint account first. Close everything that has both your name associated with it, utility account included. By having your own bank account, you can create your own banking history, which may come in useful when looking at any debt. Additionally, having your own credit card can help you build a credit history in your own name. Having a history, albeit small, it may help protect you if it turns out your partner has accrued several debts without your knowledge. However, whatever you do, do not start accruing debt. If this is a possibility for you, you are better off not building up a credit history of your own.
Do Not Default on Your Mortgage
It may well be very frustrating paying a mortgage on a property that you may not be even living in at the moment. However, defaulting on your mortgage payments is even worse. If the payments stop going through, you may be denied a mortgage in the future. It is best you are sensible and pay the mortgage. Besides, you may well have children to consider. So, try and keep a level head, don’t succumb to your emotions. Then you are better able to begin the process of selling the house, or making a plan to buy out or sell your share to your partner.
Update your Passwords
This is a small but vital step. You have to change your passwords. First ensure you update your passwords for your banking, PayPal, anything financial. Then it is also a good idea to change your email passwords, as a lot of password resets go to emails, so just to avoid this, change everything. The last thing you want is your partner sneaking into your account and spending money that way.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score
After you have closed all the joint bank account and opened your own, it may take a few weeks to a couple of months or more for everything to get updated. During this time, check back often to ensure that any account that is jointly associated has been closed. Additionally, this process will inform you of any finances that your partner has roped you into without your knowledge.
Staying calm can be a very hard thing to manage. However, losing your call in any negotiation will make you look unreasonable, aggressive, over-emotional, and a great many numbers of other negatives. Getting angry may be just exactly what your ex-partner wants you to do. It can play into your hands. If you feel this may be a problem for you, why not try and partake in meditation classes and work on your wellbeing. The more serene and calm you can remain, the more frustrated they will get as they are not getting the desired response from you. You also need to be prepared for anything that may say, so imagine the worse. Also, consider divorces via Zoom or some other form of communication technology. Thanks to the pandemic, things like this are far more commonplace. Begin in the same room as someone may be very difficult, but over a computer screen, you have that distance to breathe.
It is probably a good idea to agree on the legal fees upfront, i.e., payment for a set number of hours. Legal fees can get expensive, so be warned. This makes it important to try and resolve the negotiation as quickly as you can. The calmer you are and the more level-headed the quicker it will be. It may be an idea to hire a legal judge or arbitrator to oversee the negotiations to get the job done.