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How can you protect your finances before seeking a divorce?

What should you do if you think you're headed toward divorce? First, take care of your finances. It's no secret that a divorce can be costly and that assets could be restricted or go missing due to an aggressive or angry spouse. Take some time to gather materials about your shared finances, assets and accounts before you file for divorce. If you don't have a credit card, it's time to get one.

If you have shared investments or cash, you may want to withdraw half for yourself in advance of suggesting getting a divorce, or make sure that you change the authority level on the accounts to require both of you to sign if you want to complete a transaction. This can help you prevent your spouse from doing anything without both of you being in agreement.

When you talk to your attorney, he or she may advise you to get a checking or savings account in your own name. Having shared accounts isn't advised, since you should be separating your assets as much as possible from the moment you decide to divorce. Take credit reports and all banking and financial information to your attorney as soon as you can, so you can begin working on negotiations for a divorce settlement.

To help reduce the cost of your divorce, do as much as you can with your spouse. It might be hard to communicate sometimes, and that's okay. Mediation can help, as can arbitration sessions. Your attorneys can help you and your spouse negotiate if you come to a standstill, too.

Source: Kiplinger, "Divorce and Your Money," accessed March 03, 2017

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