Photo of Eric R. Ebbert, CFP®, MBA, CEO Eric R. Ebbert, CFP®, MBA, CEO Oct 27, 2020

Going through a divorce is a difficult time. Not only is it emotionally taxing, but it is also mentally challenging to figure out how to divide assets, property, finances and custody of children. It is even more challenging when you have been married for years and have a lot of money in savings and investments.

If your relationship with your spouse is coming to an end, you need to make sure you are financially secure once it is all over. Below are some steps that can help you protect your finances in a divorce.

Four steps for protecting your finances in a divorce

  1. Hire a divorce attorney — One of the first things you should do before making any other move is hire a divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can not only help you settle any disputes with your spouse, but they can also help you navigate the legality of going through a divorce. For example, if you take all the money out of an account or try to hide property, you can end up in trouble. A divorce lawyer can guide you through making safe decisions during this tough and emotional time.
  2. Take inventory — Take inventory of all your assets, debts, mortgage, rent payments, and anything else to do with property and money. This includes your savings and investments as well, such as stock investments, retirement plans and bonds. Be sure to take inventory of both joint and individually owned assets and property so your divorce attorney can build a stronger case for what stays with you after the divorce.
  3. Open accounts in your name — It is wise to go ahead and open accounts in your name, even if your lawyer advises you not to transfer any money out of your existing accounts yet. You will need your credit score to build in your name, and if you are a nonworking spouse, you will need your own accounts to help you build up your score.

    Additionally, you may want to freeze joint bank and credit card accounts. This is not the same as withdrawing and hiding money, but it helps prevent your spouse from going on spending sprees with the soon-to-be-split finances.
  4. Change your will — Changing your will is not exactly one of the first things you think of when it comes to protecting your finances in a divorce, but it should be a priority. Your current will may still have your former spouse listed as a beneficiary. Instead, you may want your assets to go to another family member or friend; but if you do not change your will, it might not be possible to grant these wishes.

Talk to a ProVise CFP® professional about protecting your finances in a divorce

When going through a divorce, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Navigating the challenges of protecting your finances is an overwhelming task, but with the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals of ProVise Management Group by your side, you can get through this.

Our team can work closely with you to help you develop a strategy for protecting your finances in a divorce. We can get to know you and your current financial circumstances, goals, risk tolerance and personal values to help you develop a financial plan that works for you. We can also create a written plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. All our written plans come with an unconditional money-back guarantee. If you are unhappy with your written plan, you can return it to us, and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.

Are you ready to talk to a professional about protecting your finances during a divorce? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.