Some divorces in Florida happen in an amicable way while others become contentious. During contested divorces, your financial assets might be at risk, so you should begin protecting your interests even before the divorce proceedings get underway.
Identify your assets
The first step toward protecting your financial interests during a contested divorce is identifying all your assets and gathering documentation. Documentation for these types of assets includes account numbers, passwords for online access and property titles. You should create a list of all your assets, including:
• Savings accounts and credit lines
• Investment accounts
• Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
• Real estate
• Physical property
• Retirement accounts
Secure your accounts
Once you have identified all your financial assets, you should look at your individual and joint accounts. If you have joint savings accounts, you should figure out your half, or the appropriate amount that belongs to you, and then transfer it to an individual account. However, if you use this joint account to pay household bills, make sure to leave enough to cover these bills. If the account is a line of credit with outstanding debt and cannot be closed until the debt is paid off, make sure to write the creditor to let them know that any additional charges will not be your responsibility. This process will also help you figure out how you will pay for divorce costs since you will be able to identify your sources of possible cash funds.
Secure your physical property
Some divorces become so contentious that one of the spouses begins to destroy the physical property of the other spouse in retaliation for the divorce or for perceived wrongs. If you fear that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will destroy your physical property, you should consider finding a safe place for these items that they will not be able to access, such as a friend’s or family member’s home or a safe deposit box.
Going through a divorce doesn’t mean losing half of everything, but it’s definitely a possibility that your spouse will have a claim to shared assets. Preparing documentation and safeguarding your property will help ensure that the amount your spouse receives is fair and properly divided during the legal process of divorce.