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Financial steps to take before divorce

You can begin working on dividing your assets before you and your spouse even officially get divorced. There are numerous things you can do to make the process easier and to come through the split in good shape.

First off, make sure you cancel out any joint lines of credit. Start with your main credit cards, but don't forget about smaller ones, like store-specific cards. This ensures that you don't end up with debt that your spouse incurs.

It's also wise to spend money from your joint bank account to take care of any expenses. This could include making home and auto repairs, paying off the utilities, and buying necessary items. If this is all paid in advance and then you split what is left, you avoid arguments about whether you or your spouse has to pay after the divorce.

You're starting the process of living on your own by getting your own bank accounts and credit cards, so remember to get a post office box, as well. This way, your confidential mail goes only to you and no one else. When you get your housing situation sorted out, you can switch billing statements and everything else over to that address, but the post office box gives you a solid option in the middle of the process.

As you can see, the key here is to be proactive and to take steps to protect yourself and get ready for life after the divorce. Don't just let things come to you. Learn all about the legal process in Los Angeles and then take an active approach to make sure you get what you want and deserve.

Source: Women's Institute for Financial Education, "25 Ways to Divorce Without Going Broke," accessed Sep. 27, 2016

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