We all need money to continue living our lives. During your divorce, you may need more money than usual to pay for your legal representation and even for new housing if you decide to move out. That is why a big part of your divorce plan should be ensuring that you have access to cash and credit.
Why Access Is So Important
If you currently have joint checking and savings accounts with your spouse, he or she can easily block your access to the accounts with a call to the bank (depending on how the accounts are set up). Worse yet, your spouse can simply empty the accounts. It may take a judge’s orders to get your portion of the money back, which could take many months! Additionally, if your credit cards are in your spouse’s name, he or she can cut you off at whim, leaving you with no backup if you don’t have cash on hand.
You can see how easily a vindictive spouse can leave you stranded if you allow yourself to be at their financial mercy. Of course, not every spouse will react this way when you deliver the divorce news, but is it worth taking the risk? We say no, which is why you need to start staking out your financial freedom BEFORE you make the big divorce announcement.
How to Achieve Financial Autonomy Before Your Divorce
- Open Your Own Checking and Savings Accounts
The first and easiest thing you can do to protect yourself financially before your divorce is to open your own personal checking and savings accounts. Here in California, you are entitled to half of all community property, including income, so you can rightfully put the equivalent of half of your and your spouse’s combined income into your own accounts. Since the accounts are in your name only, your spouse cannot freeze you out or empty the accounts behind your back.
- Open Your Own Credit Cards
You may not have much time between when you decide to get divorced and when you actually pull the trigger, so it may be hard to save up money in your personal checking and savings accounts. That’s why you should consider applying for your own credit card. A credit card can be an important safety net if your car breaks down while you and your spouse are still arguing over who gets what in the divorce. You should never rely entirely on credit cards, but in the real world, sometimes you need their help, especially during an expensive divorce.
- Make Big Expenditures Before a Divorce
Do you need to replace your car’s timing belt or get braces for your daughter? It might be smarter to pay for these bigger expenses before you get divorced while you still have full access to all of your shared accounts. Your spouse might not be happy in retrospect, but it’s better to get these expenses out of the way now in case your spouse cuts you off from the money and you find yourself with little resources during your divorce.
If you have less credit or poorer credit than your spouse, you may even want to consider taking out any necessary loans before the divorce. If you need a new car or need to pay for your child’s college, take the loan out now so you can make sure you get approved and enjoy a better interest rate than if you were to try and take out the loan on your own after a divorce.
Making sure you have access to cash is just one important factor in preparing for divorce. If you live in Orange County, CA, call the attorneys of Bohm Wildish to schedule a consultation today.