If you’re thinking about divorce, below is a quick list of things to consider when contemplating divorce. Be sure to consult with an attorney about any of these options before acting on them, to ensure they are done in a way that won’t backfire on you or get you in trouble.
1) Set up an individual account in your own name at a bank that is different than the one you have joint accounts at with your husband. And if you don’t already have one, open up a credit card in your name only. You don’t have to let him know you did it (yet), and you should have a password that he can’t guess.
2) Start setting aside money into that individual account. Not huge chunks that he will notice. Perhaps you get an “allowance” that you can divvy up, or make a few cash withdrawals.
3) Avoid large purchases that will add to the community debts UNLESS: it’s a potentially expensive medical or dental procedures that you’ve been meaning to get done and will require health insurance; or costly car repairs to the car you intend to keep after the divorce so that you have reliable transportation.
4) You may be able to get child support and alimony while the divorce suit is ongoing, as well as after the divorce. You may need to establish such support sooner rather than later, so that you can not only support yourself but also create a history of income for possible loans later down the road.
5) Child support is not taxable but alimony is. You may also be able to monetize a marital debt that gets paid out to you over a period of time after the divorce and is not taxed. Keep this in mind when structuring creative financial support options.
6) “His” money is also “your” money. You have a right to that paycheck and the bank account in his name that he’s been squirreling away all these years. Same goes for retirement, stock options, investment accounts…you get the idea. You worked just as hard as the household executive as he did as a professional executive, and you are entitled to your fair share.
7) If your marriage lasted at least 10 years, you may be entitled not only to alimony but also your ex’s social security benefits when you turn 62.
8) Consider whether you really want that retirement account versus more liquid assets that you can invest better. Retirement account money is locked up until you retire, and if you need money for things like a new house or your kids’ college, you’ll want to consider whether taking a cash account is a better deal for you.
9) Be sure to get a copy of your tax returns and credit report. You never know what debt your spouse/ex has been hiding from you. It’s not fun getting a knock on the door from the IRS three years after you thought the divorce was finished. Alternatively, many spouses “hide” assets in the tax returns through withholding income or deducting expenses, among other things.
These are just a few of the considerations homemaker’s should be making when considering divorce. Our experienced divorce lawyers can help you think through your options and set you up for success.