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Tips on protecting your finances throughout the divorce process

Most people don't ask for divorce. For a marriage in which someone provided their all and received nothing or little in return, it is just a difficult circumstance to deal with. And when the marriage lasted for years and all of a sudden comes to an end, it is even more devastating. However, no matter how emotionally tasking a divorce in Pennsylvania may be, it is crucial for any spouse that wants to come out of the divorce on top financially learn what they can do in order to protect their finances to the best of their ability.

When couples are married for some time, they generally have joint banking accounts as well as credit cards. It is important for these to be closed outright, if possible, and new accounts should be opened in your name only. Any medical insurance, life insurance or other policies should be changed to reflect your newly single status.

Have a look at all assets and liabilities that you, as a couple, have. Make copies of any important documentation, including, but not limited to, credit card statements, bank statements, tax returns and mortgage information. One would do well to gather information related to inheritances and related property that belongs to one spouse or the other. As for retirement accounts, residents in Pennsylvania should be prepared for an equitable division of these accounts. The court will likely aim for a fair division, but if you have copies of all the accounts, you can ensure that a fair settlement is provided.

If you have a will, change it as soon as possible to ensure that your spouse is no longer a part of it. In addition, you should work with your spouse to determine arrangements for the home the two of you shared over the years. Will one take it or will the house be sold? If the house is not sold, whether both spouses live in the house until the divorce is final or just one, both will generally be responsible for the mortgage payment.

Finances are generally the number one target of a spouse wanting to make things diifficult. By learning how to protect your finances in advance, you are better prepared for the divorce as a whole. And while you may still need help obtaining the best settlement in your Pennsylvania divorce, you will be setting yourself up for a solid financial future.

Source: AARP.org, "6 Ways to Protect Your Money In a Divorce," Sid Kirchheimer, May 16, 2012

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