If you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways, you might also want to consider separating your bank accounts and other assets before the divorce.
When it comes to property division, your attorney must identify separate and marital assets. With some simple adjustments, you can make this process a little easier to manage.
Separating your bank accounts
You and your spouse may have joint bank accounts. To avoid the possibility of running up debt or the potential for one party to use a checking account without the knowledge of the other party, it is a good idea to close any joint bank accounts and open separate accounts prior to your divorce.
Creating a written agreement
If it is necessary for you and your spouse to maintain a joint bank account, your attorney can prepare a written agreement concerning the activity. This should state the purpose for the account and describe how you will use the funds. It is advisable to require two signatures on any checks written on the joint account.
Dealing with credit cards and investments
Similarly, if you and your spouse have joint credit card accounts, close those and open new accounts separately. You may also have investment assets. To ensure that no misuse of funds occurs, freeze those assets until the divorce becomes final.
Preparing for property division
Remember that all assets must be properly identified. Some will be separate assets that each of you owns individually and others will be marital assets that you own together. A value must be assigned to each so that the court can make a fair and equitable distribution. You should keep complete copies of the financial documents you provide to your attorney including details about establishing separate accounts. It may take some time for you to assemble the documents, but the more organized you are the easier the property division phase of your divorce will be.