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Get Your Finances in Order Before Starting the Illinois Divorce Process

By Nottage and Ward on March 1, 2011

Getting a divorce can be a traumatic experience. It is an ordeal that not only takes an emotional toll on those involved, but also a financial one. Even when a non-confrontational divorce is the goal, both spouses must be sure they are doing everything possible to protect the future of their finances. Unfortunately, many people in divorce aren’t aware what financial decisions will be best long-term. Sorting out a marriage’s once-intertwined finances can be challenging. Assets are typically not split down the middle; other legal issues like taxes and retirement funds must be considered. This is the first of a three-part series on our blog discussing divorce and your financial wellbeing.

A recent DailyFinance.com article discusses important financial steps a divorcing couple must consider before beginning negotiations to understand what advantages they have. Someone considering a divorce may also want to determine whether the divorce settlement must meet any financial needs. It is important to have a clear picture of finances before starting the divorce process.

One of the first things you must do if you are considering an Illinois divorce is to check your credit report, which will notify you about any outstanding credit or other debts in your name. You should confirm the accuracy of all accounts and conclude whether any credit lines have been opened in your name without your consent. It is possible your spouse may have created debts that you are legally responsible for, even if you weren’t accountable for paying them during your marriage.

Checking your credit report can also alert you if your spouse has affected your personal credit profile. Joint accounts may appear on your report and could harm your credit. In the divorce settlement, responsibility for joint accounts must be determined. It may be necessary to preserve joint accounts for a while after divorce. One spouse may not be able to continue to maintain bank accounts or credit cards by themselves, and to close them could cause a spouse to suffer an unacceptable hardship, particularly if children are involved.

The article also recommends that all individuals have at least one personal credit card, especially if you believe a divorce is imminent. The article also advises that married couples who have joint credit card accounts decrease their credit limits to more manageable amounts. This will help make it so that a spouse does not have the chance to go on a shopping spree before the divorce begins, which can further complicate financial matters.

If you are considering divorce, it may be in your best interest to consult with an Illinois divorce lawyer who can ensure that your legal rights are protected as well as inform you of the appropriate approach to your specific financial situation. Contact the family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward to learn more.

Be sure to check back with our blog for part two and the conclusion of this series regarding divorce and your financial future.

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