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4 ways to protect your money in a divorce

Divorce can be a long and complicated process and, if you are not careful, you may walk away with less than your fair share of the marital assets. For example, if you insist on keeping the house in Plano and give up other assets in exchange, you could end up with the raw end of the deal. The house might become too expensive to maintain and you might have to sell it at a loss. In fact, as soon as you make the decision to divorce, it is time to start taking steps to protect your money.

With just a little bit of planning, you can organize your finances so that you are not only ready for divorce proceedings but also for your new life. Here are few ways to protect your finances.

Open new accounts

One of the first things you should do after you decide to divorce is to start opening accounts solely in your name. You will need new checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards that are not joint accounts.

It is important to start establishing your own credit history as soon as possible. In addition, you should begin putting away money to fund your divorce until you and your husband come to terms on the property division.

Take inventory

If you do not have a full accounting of what you and your spouse own, you will not be in a strong negotiating position when the time comes to divide your marital property. Make a list of all accounts and their current balances along with other property the two of you acquired during the marriage. You can start with prior year tax returns to get a list of income-generating assets.

You are going to split the retirement accounts

If you have a retirement account such as a 401(k) that's only in your name, that does not mean that it will be safe from the property division process. If you built the account from money you earned during your marriage, it might be considered marital property in the eyes of the court, especially since Texas is a community property state. Both your and your husband's retirement accounts could be subject to a 50/50 split.

Update your will

Divorce is a major, life-changing event and, when such an event occurs, you should update your estate plan. Adjust your will and other documents to reflect the changes in your life. For instance, if your husband is listed as your beneficiary on your retirement accounts, he will get the remaining balance if something happens to you. Also, you may need to amend your medical directive.

If you are planning to divorce, it is important to take steps to protect your future by protecting your assets. The above tips can help you safeguard your money so that you are ready to begin your new life.

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