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Protecting your wallet after divorce

Ending a marriage may double household expenses because spouses must independently pay for living costs that they shared. Undertaking a divorce should also include financial planning for life after the marriage is over.First, divorce expenses must be managed. Professional invoices should be reviewed, and a spouse should become familiar with the cost and length of this process to anticipate expenses.

Dividing up marital process should be done fairly while considering several factors. This does not merely mean an equal split but should include the liquidity of assets and the expenses set aside for keeping assets such as a house and tax consequences.

Dividing up retirement accounts should incorporate the value of pre-marital and post-marital assets. A spouse who was married for at least 10 years may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on their former spouse's record which may be important for spouses who did not work or earned less.

If the house still has a mortgage and is awarded to one spouse, that spouse should refinance the mortgage and assume the debt under their name only. However, the title could contain both spouse's names if a spouse cannot qualify for refinancing or afford to buy the other spouse's share of their home but still assumes responsibility for paying off the mortgage.

It is also essential to eliminate any joint debt before the divorce is final because both spouses are liable for joint debt regardless of the divorce decree. This can be a crippling financial burden and impact credit reports. If an agreement on joint debt is not resolved before the divorce, a spouse should continue to review the account's history to assure that the other spouse is meeting any payment agreement. Parents should also agree on payment of the children's expenses. This includes college tuition among other future costs.

Financial documents and accounts also need revised. This includes changing titles on homes and cars. Wills, powers of attorneys and health care directives must be revised. Life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries must be updated. Bank accounts should be reopened in the name of one spouse. Changing security passwords on online accounts is also important.

There is much to consider and complete while going through a divorce. An attorney can help guide a spouse through these issues. They can also seek a fair and reasonable property division.

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Law Office of Robert Ricci, Jr.
136 Central Avenue
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Clark, NJ 07066

Phone: 732-587-7051
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