Unhappy spouses put off divorce for different reasons, such as waiting until the children move out, but one of the main reasons is because of money, isn't that right?
Most of us have heard horror stories about a wife that took her husband for all he had, a husband that gambled away the family's life savings at the track, or a wife that was infuriated by her husband's affair so she maxed out all of their credit cards and "forgot" to pay the mortgage until the bank foreclosed on the house.
If you've been daydreaming about a divorce but fear of what will happen to your home, your IRA or 401(k), or your credit has been holding you back, you don't have to let these fears keep you from untying the knot anymore.
While it's true, countless divorcées have filed bankruptcy or otherwise suffered financial ruin because of any ugly divorce, it doesn't have to be that way.
Divorce is much like a game of chess. If you're calm and strategic, you can protect your assets, your credit, and even the sentimental items, such as the family photos. However, the best way to stay in control of these things is to do your research and seek the advice of an experienced divorce lawyer.
If you're concerned about any of these issues, we can help:
- You're worried your spouse has "hidden assets."
- You're concerned that your spouse will drain the bank accounts.
- You suspect your spouse is hiding real estate, investments, or other assets from you.
- You think your spouse will try to transfer assets to friends or family.
- You're worried you'll end up bankrupt, broke, or penniless.
- You're afraid your spouse will use your past transgressions to "nail you" in the divorce.
- You're concerned because you don't know anything about the bills or the finances – you're what's called the "out spouse."
- Your spouse has threatened to leave you with nothing or ruin your credit if you ask for a divorce.
Even if you can relate to one or more of the concerns listed above, there are legal procedures and processes that can protect you. For instance, once you file for divorce, court orders will go into effect, demanding that your spouse does not make any large or unusual purchases, or transfer or sell assets to another party.
Protecting Your Credit
The more you are armed with information regarding your rights and how to uncover hidden assets, the better position you'll be in to protect your claim to the marital estate. Not only that, but there are key pieces of information that we can give you about making a clean break and protecting your credit if that's a concern for you.
For instance, you should run your credit reports immediately so you can see exactly who owes what, and to whom. If you have joint credit cards, you want to close them or transfer them into one spouse's name alone.
If you have debt and you can afford to pay it off before the divorce, do it. You don't want an old marital debt to haunt you later on after the divorce, especially if your spouse decides not to pay it for some reason.
Creditors don't care what the divorce decree says, if your spouse fails to pay an old marital debt that was assigned to him or her, you can be on the hook for it and that can damage your FICO score. Same goes with staying on the mortgage after the divorce.
If you agree to let your spouse keep the marital residence, make sure that he or she refinances the house in their name. Otherwise, you could have trouble qualifying for another mortgage because your debt-to-income ratio is too high, or the lender could come after you if your spouse defaults on the loan.
For further advice about divorce and credit, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. to speak with a Nassau County divorce lawyer for free!