When it comes to the subject of men’s divorce, most men fear that they will be taken to the cleaners financially. Will your soon-to-be ex-wife be able to take everything you’ve got? Will you be left living in a one-bedroom apartment, barely able to afford the gas to get back and forth to work? Here are a few recommendations that will help protect your assets when it comes to financial matters.
Document your household property with photos. Depending upon whether your relationship with your soon-to-be ex is still amicable, you may fear that she will clean the house while you are away and she has the opportunity. Take pictures of everything – furniture, clothing, appliances, decor items, jewelry, etc. so that you have proof if valuables turn up missing.
Live a frugal life. You may be used to having 300 channels on satellite, an Internet connection, two cell phones and other luxuries, but when you and your wife are separated, it’s unlikely you will be able to afford the expenses for two households. Never have utilities disconnected, especially when there are children involved. Disconnect those things you can live without and that are not absolute necessities.
Remove any potential evidence from a wife who will snoop (and most will). Have documents you would rather your wife not have access to for fear she may use them against you? Wherever you store records and other important documents (car, briefcase, home office, computer), move these things to your lawyer’s office or a friend’s house.
Open a separate bank account. You never want to wipe out the joint bank account as the judge will likely not look favorably upon you. However, it is recommended that you open up a new account in your name only, then transfer half of the money from the joint account into your own account. If you think you can get away with taking all of the money and leaving your wife and children without any money, think again. Never tell your wife what you are planning to do, as she may beat you to the punch.
Close joint credit card accounts immediately. How would you feel if you woke up one morning to find that your wife had decided to take advantage of the situation and spend to her heart’s desire, putting all of the charges on your joint credit card account? Close these accounts at once, notifying the credit card company, banks and anyone else involved via certified letter, requesting a return receipt to assure that the receiver did get your letter. If you decide you need a credit card, you can always open up an account in your name only.
401(k) and IRA accounts. If you have acquired retirement funds over the course of your marriage such as a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account, have your employer stop withholding 401(k) from your pay until the divorce is final, and cease contributing to your IRA. These are assets that your wife will likely share in when the divorce is final, so don’t contribute anymore than you already have.
Men’s divorce can be messy, but there are precautions you can take to protect yourself as much as possible. The smartest thing you can do is to consult with a reputable divorce attorney who can give you helpful advice and prepare a plan of action according to your individual needs and circumstances. One more thing – don’t hire just any divorce lawyer; one who is skilled with a reputation for winning will be capable of securing the best outcome for you, so ask around and get referrals. Don’t be left high and dry!