Be Smart, Protect Your Interests During a Marital Separation
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By Nancy Kay, Featured DM Blogger - May 16, 2013 - Updated October 04, 2013

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If you are considering a separation from your husband, you are probably overwhelmed with the emotional swings of wondering what will happen next.

You may not even want a divorce and are trying hard to reconcile.

During a time like this, you may not realize just how critical it is to take some steps now to protect yourself financially just in case your separation continues longer than you expected or ends up turning into a divorce.

Here are 3 Smart Moves for Women who are Separating:

1. Get credit cards and a bank account in your name only. Almost every day I talk with women who were shocked and blindsided when their husbands removed the money from their joint bank accounts and cancelled credit cards that they were counting on to be able to hire an attorney and support themselves and their children during separation.

It's a smart move to be pro-active and apply for credit cards and transfer some money into a new bank account in your name only BEFORE you even think you might need these financial safety vests that can keep you afloat.

Unfortunately, many women are caught off guard financially when they discover that their husbands have liquidated, moved or cancelled their access to money or credit without prior notice.

By planning ahead, you will feel more confident that you will have the financial means to pay for legal advice (remember you can help pay for divorce proceedings by selling unwanted jewelry), get the emotional support that you need, and be prepared as you wait on the slow pace of the legal system to address the financial aspects of your separation.

2. Make copies of all financial related paperwork and several years of tax returns. And store these safely away from where you are living. Be sure to include paycheck stubs, bank and credit card statements, investment and retirement records, all loans and titles for cars and homes and records related to any debts.

You may find it beneficial to get a copy of your credit report to show debts that you did not even know about.

It’s also wise to have a detailed list of personal property along estimated values and photos or video of these items.

3. Remember that consulting with a few attorneys does NOT mean you have to file for divorce.  It’s common to put off going to see a divorce attorney when you're still unclear about if you want to divorce. 

However, since many attorneys offer a free consultation, it’s a smart move to meet with several before you find yourself in need of hiring one. By meeting with a few ahead of time, you’ll have a clearer understanding about your options and which attorney will be the best choice for you if you find that you need to move forward.

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