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Keeping an eye on your money during a divorce

Getting a divorce in Maryland is likely to impact nearly every aspect of your life. Between court hearings, professional consultations, working a job and taking care of children, keeping everything straight while trying to move on with your life can quickly becoming overwhelming. This is why it's important to prioritize and manage your time during a divorce effectively. One of the top priorities during this process should involve protecting your credit and finances.

The very first action to take involves examining all of your credit card and bank accounts, especially if your spouse has been managing them in the past. If the divorce is amicable, this can often be accomplished by having an honest, open discussion with your spouse. If this isn't possible, try to obtain personal financial records such as tax filings and mortgage statements yourself. These should include documents related to both assets and debts. Doing this can allow you to comprehensively understand your financial situation, ensuring that you'll be treated fairly while assets such as a home are being divided.

Next, it's important to remove your spouse as a beneficiary on any accounts. It can be easy to forget that a life insurance policy or retirement account will provide your spouse with money if the accounts were established many years ago. Any similar documents should be changed to reflect your financial wishes post-divorce.

Also, even if you think your spouse has been honest in the past, it would be worthwhile to protect yourself from any possible identity theft or unexpected money loss by immediately closing any joint accounts. If there is a high level of resentment during the divorce, it's possible that your spouse could use sensitive personal information such a Social Security number to open false accounts. You should also consider monitoring your credit and any joint accounts in order to watch out for big, unexpected changes.

Keeping a cool, rational mind during the process is also very important. Dragging out the process or making a divorce difficult in an attempt to get revenge on a spouse can lead to high costs that might drain your resources. It may be wise for any Maryland resident to assemble a professional team that includes an attorney, a financial advisor and mental health expert to help during the divorce process.

Source: ABC News, "How to Protect Your Finances in a Divorce" AJ Smith, Mar. 31, 2014

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