Untangling Your Finances After A Divorce

A divorce is a stressful time in any individual's life, bringing with it drastic changes and a long to-do list. If you are currently going through a divorce, it is important to begin the process of untangling combined finances with your spouse. Remove your spouse from your financial life to build a strong financial foundation for your new life.

Joint Loans

A joint loan with two cosigners shows up on both of the individuals' credit reports. As a divorcee, you do not want to depend on your ex-spouse to make on-time payments. In your divorce decree, one spouse may be assigned responsibility for joint debt. It is essential for the responsible spouse to get the debt solely in his or her name.

For example, if a couple co-owns a home and one person takes possession of the home, this person who takes possession needs to refinance the home loan in his or her name.

If your spouse does not qualify for a new loan or does not have the assets to pay the loan off, consult with your divorce attorney about your options.

Don't forget credit cards in both of your names. Call your credit card provider to determine if both spouses are on the account; if so, the card needs to be closed. If one spouse is only an authorized user, the credit card company can quickly remove him or her.

Insurance Policies

Many spouses get their health, dental, or life insurance through their spouse's employer. If you are or were on your spouse's insurance, now is the time to get quotes for new insurance policies.

If your spouse is on your insurance, you can remove him or her when your divorce is final. A divorce is considered a qualifying life event and enables you to make necessary changes to your benefits.

One thing to consider is your children's health insurance coverage. Make sure that your divorce decree specifies who is to cover the children's insurance and how the cost for their insurance premiums will be handled. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by low insurance premiums. All it takes for one rate hike to make the premiums unaffordable. Inquire with your attorney to make sure that your spouse will help shoulder any increases in premiums.

Joint Accounts

If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, your spouse is considered an equal owner on the account. He or she can make changes to the account, close the account, or withdraw funds. It is best to close any joint accounts and open a new account solely in your name.

You may be tempted to just leave the account open and trust your spouse to not use it anymore. This opens your money up to risk if your ex defaults on a loan or credit card. The account is considered an asset, and creditors can come after it to recover the money they are owed.

Separating finances from an ex-spouse is daunting, but it is necessary for a new start. Bank accounts, debts, and insurance policies are three areas that require your immediate attention. It is time to make your finances your own again.