How to Protect Your Personal Property in Divorce

How to Protect Your Personal Property in Divorce

Ending a marriage is an emotional experience for parties to endure, no matter how necessary it is, especially if it lasted for a particularly long time. However, it can also exact some damage to your finances, both in the present time and in the future, if you do not take the proper measures to protect yourself. For some, this might be a first-time experience and you might not know exactly what steps you should take to safeguard your personal property and assets.

Take a moment to read the following tips to learn what you can do to protect your property in a divorce:

  • Hire a divorce attorney with experience: One of the first things every party should do once a decision has been made to move forward with a divorce is obtain skilled and experienced legal representation. Your attorney should recommend other methods of divorce, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, instead of encouraging you to opt for litigation. Being able to hash out the details of a divorce settlement with your spouse and respective attorneys will likely result in a far better resolution that protects your finances.
  • Open accounts in your name: This is an especially important step if you were a non-working spouse. You need to establish your own credit history right away in case you need a car loan or mortgage later on. If you already have an established credit history, you should still close or freeze all joint bank and credit card accounts to avoid being held responsible for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s future purchases. Additionally, you should remember that car insurance, life insurance and health insurance policies and other such documents should not be changed until you have a written agreement or court order.
  • Take inventory of your assets and debts: This is a step your attorney can help you out with. He or she can ask for a full disclosure of all joint and individually owned financial assets, which will allow you to know exactly where your money is. You should also make copies of loans, credit card accounts, home equity lines, and past tax returns. It is also important to determine pre-marital assets.
  • Sort mortgage and rent payments: Regardless of what is going on in your personal life, the fact is that mortgage companies and landlords still expect payments to be made. In many cases, parties are able to reach some kind of arrangement about who is able to pay for and/or keep the home. Obtain a CMA or appraised on real estate to determine fair market value.
  • You will have to share your retirement: Your name is on your 401(k) or IRA, but it will likely still end up on the chopping block. Make sure your attorney files the appropriate paperwork, which is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), to ensure your retirement accounts are properly divided and you do not suffer any tax penalties.
  • Change your will: This is something you should take care of as soon as possible after receipt of your divorce decree. The last thing you probably want is for your ex-spouse to inherit any of your assets or property upon your death.
  • Get a copy of your credit report: To determine if there are any debts or obligations incurred during the marriage for which you were unware.

Family Law Attorneys in Manchester

At Sekella Law, PLLC, our Manchester team of family law attorneys understands that going through a divorce can be difficult, which is why we are dedicated to easing that burden by providing the compassionate and focused attention you need during this time. We will employ a unique approach that specifically addresses your needs, goals, and protects your interests.

Contact our office today at (603) 686-7229 to schedule a case review with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. You do not have to go through this alone.

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