Keep Your Financial Footing During Divorce

divThe money moves you make during this crucial time can have long-lasting effects. These six tips can help you exit your marriage on solid financial ground.

Stay informed. During the marriage, each spouse should understand his or her overall financial situation. During a divorce, pay special attention to these details:

How your house or other joint property is titled

Your account passwords

Where to find your financial documents

Details of your assets, debts and future retirement benefits

Work with your attorney to gather any missing information.

Think about retirement. ?Even if you?re relatively young, you should consider the impact a divorce today will have on your retirement that?s still decades away,? says Scott Halliwell, a Certified Financial Planner? with USAA. Divorce can affect what happens to retirement funds amassed during a marriage, no matter who earned the money. It also can affect military retirement payments, corporate pensions and Social Security retirement benefits.

Make a clean credit break. If the divorce decree allows, you should close, split or individually refinance joint accounts, such as mortgages, car loans and credit cards. If you can?t refinance separately, sell the asset. You don?t want your credit score to suffer if your former spouse fails to make timely payments.

Protect child support, alimony and retirement income. If children are involved, the court may award child support or even spousal maintenance. Setting up a life insurance policy can ensure payment of these or other post-divorce financial obligations, if your spouse dies while still obligated to pay. Work with an attorney to structure the policy properly.

Update your budget. Before you divorce, outline your post-marriage finances. Expenses often increase when individuals split up combined insurance plans, cellphone plans and other household costs.

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