One of the greatest concerns that people have about
divorce is the impact that it can have on their finances. "Will divorce leave
me with nothing?" "Will divorce affect my credit score?"
These are common questions that our Long Island divorce attorneys hear.
Our team has compiled a sort of "to-do list" to help you prepare
financially for a divorce. Give us a call at (516) 688-0088 if you need
family law attorney to help you protect your assets during a divorce in Long Island.
Know Your Spouse’s Income
In order to ensure that your marital assets are
properly divided, it is important to know your spouse's total income. This includes:
- Salary/hourly wages
- Health benefits
- Social Security benefits
- Retirement accounts (401k/IRA)
Open Your Own Personal Accounts*
If you have shared accounts with your spouse, then you will need to open
new, personal accounts. Conversely, you can take your spouse's name
off of a shared account and they can open a separate account in their
name. This should be done for accounts including:
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
Pay Off Personal Debt
If possible, pay off or pay down any debts that are solely in your name.
Doing so can help simplify the debt division process during your divorce.
Build/Establish Credit in Your Name
One of the biggest concerns most people have when thinking of getting a
divorce is how it will affect their credit score. If you and your spouse
have separate accounts and you have already established good credit in
your name, then splitting from your spouse should not damage your score
too much. However, if you have joint accounts, then your existing credit
from those accounts will remain on your credit report. It may be in your
best interest to open a personal account and begin building credit on your own.
Options include opening a personal credit account, if possible, and using
it wisely. If you have little to no credit, there are many banks and credit
unions that offer low-limit "credit building" cards for this
very purpose. Another option might be taking out a loan, such as an auto
loan or a mortgage. Making these payments on time can help build credit
in your name.
Increase Your Earning Potential
Are you concerned about a drop in income after your divorce? You might
benefit from seeking a better-paying job than the one you have now or,
if you do not have a job, finding one as soon as possible.
Have you been a home-maker or a stay-at-home parent during your marriage?
In some cases, you may be able to take college classes or other courses
with the aid of spousal support, as long as the courses are with the intention
of increasing your earning potential and seeking meaningful employment
to support yourself after the divorce. A Long Island divorce attorney
can help you determine if this option is available to you.
*AN IMPORTANT NOTE:
Be careful not to take any action that could be viewed as hiding marital
assets or preventing your spouse from accessing important financial information.
This kind of behavior is prohibited and will only hurt your case. Hire
a seasoned divorce lawyer to ensure that your property and assets are
protected in an ethical and court-approved manner.