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Is your wallet ready for a divorce?

Divorce is a big decision for most individuals, and it has ramifications across your entire life. For most people, divorce doesn't just mean ending a long-term commitment to a romantic partner, though that can be devastating in and of itself. Even if you don't have children, divorce can leave a long-term mark with regard to finances.

One way to reduce the risks of long-term financial scars following a divorce is to prepare yourself beforehand. A first step in bolstering finances before a divorce is truly understanding your money. If you are filing amicably, you might want to gather financial records together so you can make better decisions about splitting assets and debt. If you aren't dealing with an amicable divorce, then you'll need to gather as much information for yourself so you can be prepared to make decisions about your future.

It's a good idea to monitor your credit as you go through the divorce process. This way, you can ensure all information is accurate, ensure accounts that were open in both your names are not being used inappropriately and close any accounts that you need to. While you're at it, you should open new accounts in your name only. If you're ending a marriage, there is no reason to go on sharing a bank account or credit card account.

Finally, take charge of your own income and expense. Cut your personal expenses where possible so you can begin saving for a strong fresh start, and consider using a budget app or program to keep yourself on track. Work with a divorce lawyer to help ensure you end up with a fair amount of assets and avoid falling into emotional spending or decision-making that could make your new start harder.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "6 Critical Steps to Prepare Your Finances for Divorce," Shawn Leamon, July 05, 2016

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