Many people going through a divorce in North Dakota work with their attorneys to help ensure that they will have a financially-secure future after the divorce. However, there are important steps to take before the decree is signed to protect your assets.
Obviously, some divorces are more acrimonious than others. However, if you have any concerns about what actions your estranged spouse or others in his or her life might take regarding assets in your name, these steps could be crucial to protecting yourself from financial disaster. Of course, you should check with your attorney first to ensure that you are not taking any steps that could harm your case.
You should change your personal identification numbers, passwords and other security information that you use to access your accounts. While you're at it, change access information to your e-mail and social media accounts.
If you have joint credit cards and/or bank accounts with your spouse, close them and open individual ones. People have been known to clean out accounts and run up credit card bills, leaving their ex-spouses in dire financial straits. Again, consult with your attorney to ensure that you are doing this properly. Causing problems for your spouse will not help your own case.
If your spouse keeps any vehicles and/or the house and he or she is going to be responsible for loans or mortgages on those, make sure that your name is removed from the loan. Your credit can be ruined if he or she fails to keep up with the payments.
Speaking of credit, keep a close eye on your credit reports throughout your divorce and afterwards. It's best to order reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These are the three primary credit bureaus. Ensure that any accounts you've closed are reflected accurately and that the new individual accounts you've opened are listed. These reports will also show any debts on which your name is listed. Divorce is a good time to get a full picture of your credit and to clear up any issues.
When your finances have been intertwined with someone else's, it's not always easy to separate them. However, it's necessary to do so to move forward with your life without being saddled with debt or other financial problems created by your former spouse. North Dakota family law attorneys can advise people on the necessary steps to protect their financial future.
Source: West Fargo Pioneer, "Alderman: Divorcing? Protect your finances, personal data" Jason Alderman, Jul. 15, 2014