For most folks the decision to separate is hard, and the reality of what separation means can be harder. One of the most important aspects of separating is privacy. Whether you stay in the marital home or get your own new home, among your first steps should be protecting your privacy. Following are the first of several tips I have for protecting your privacy when separating.
1. If you are staying in your home, change the locks as soon as your spouse moves out. Reprogram the alarm system (if you have one) to a new code. Also, contact your alarm company to make sure that they will not let your spouse reprogram it again. Get the garage door opener back and reprogram the garage code. Make sure that you have all the keys to the vehicles that you drive.
2. Immediately, if not sooner, change ALL your passwords. This applies to your email, any online shopping sites, any online business accounts, retirement accounts, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. Don’t forget to change the password to your smartphone or any other electronic devices. If you had not utilized the password function on these gadgets before, you absolutely should … Keep reading
This tip sounds simple, but many folks have ignored the finances of their marriage because their spouse is in control (and often controlling), or because they have not “needed” to become knowledgeable.
If this has been you, right now, you NEED to find out as much as you can. Where are your assets (i.e. retirement accounts, bank accounts, investments, etc.) held? In whose name? What is the income stream coming into the family? Gather and make copies of recent bank, retirement and investment account statements and the three most recent years of tax returns. If none of this is possible because your spouse keeps the records away from you at his or her office, ask about them. The nature of the response you get may help you decide what to do. If your spouse is uncooperative when you ask for this information, then that tells you there is a problem.
Also check on your liabilities. What is the mortgage payment? How much is left to pay on the mortgage in comparison to the equity in your home? Do you have credit card balances? What are they? In whose name are the cards? You should also pull a … Keep reading
Divorce is an ending, but it is also a new beginning, and with all new journeys it is good to have a road map. Here are 5 simple things that EVERYONE needs to do post-divorce.
1. Create a master list of tasks and times for actions as set forth in your divorce agreement or divorce judgement. We do this for our clients as a regular matter, but many lawyers don’t. It’s important to be mindful of when actions need to be done, as in transferring title, paying your ex, exchanging belongings, deeding property and dividing accounts. Enter into your calendar when to expect payments or when you need to make payments. If you can automate paying support by direct deposit or payroll deduction, do so.
2. If you haven’t already, have a lawyer draft a new will, and change your health care proxy and durable power of attorney. You certainly don’t want to have your ex making life altering health decisions for you. Also, make sure you have changed the beneficiary information on all of your retirement accounts, life insurance policies and any other asset you may own that has a beneficiary component (for instance, make … Keep reading