People in Michigan who are getting a divorce might need to protect themselves financially during this vulnerable time. Despite the overwhelming emotions of the moment, it is important for spouses to take steps toward protecting their short and long-term financial health.
For example, each spouse should pull, and monitor, their credit reports during and after the divorce. Closing joint accounts and opening individual accounts instead can help ensure that one person does not take all the money. This may include canceling jointly owned credit cards and removing people as authorized users on cards. The couple may want to open one joint account to handle expenses during the divorce such as child care costs.
It is necessary to get a record of all finances within the marriage. This can be complex and may include retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, information on mortgage refinances, jewelry and more. Spouses may want to think about working with a divorce financial analyst who may be able to assist in activities such as appraisal, budgeting and even finding hidden assets if necessary.
People should make sure their names are included in the deeds of all shared property such as vehicles and homes. They might also want to update their estate plans. Finally, people might need to educate themselves about financial matters and divorce and create a budget for a new single income.
A person may want to talk to an attorney about what kinds of actions are appropriate at what stages of the divorce. For example, there could be legal consequences for trying to unilaterally close down joint accounts, or it may not be possible to remove the spouse as a beneficiary on some accounts during the divorce process. In a high-asset divorce, this process might be particularly complex. It is important that a person does not give the appearance of trying to conceal assets or take other illegal or unethical financial action against the spouse.