Early in the divorce process, your mind may focus on the emotions you feel and the changes it will bring to your life. It's easy to become overwhelmed with this transition, but you may want to set aside some time to think about how to protect yourself for the near future.
In Virginia, you will have to complete a period of separation during the divorce process, usually around six months to a year. Before this begins, you may want to take some steps to protect your finances. You might not believe that your spouse is likely to harm you financially, but trying to rule it out altogether can benefit both of you regardless.
If you share a bank account or a credit card with your spouse, you can freeze it to keep your money and debt separate. Opening your own accounts can keep arguments about money to a minimum during the separation period. It can also prevent one spouse from intentionally draining resources or racking up debt.
You should also figure out your economic circumstances. This includes collecting documents showing credit card balances, income and retirement benefits, mortgages, student loan debt, and property. When no documentation is available, you can write down what you own, such as valuable items in the home.
To avoid fraud and identity theft during a divorce, ask a credit reporting agency for a copy of your credit score. Catching an unusual change is much easier than finding out your credit has been critically damaged.
These financial adjustments may be part of the separation agreement that you create to define the expectations during this time period. To learn about how you can plan for the transition into divorce, ask a skilled divorce attorney what you can do now to make things easier down the road.