Financial tips for Maryland spouses considering divorce

Couples who are going through a rough marital patch may find that finances are the last thing they want to think about during such a time. Unfortunately, that may be the most crucial time to take a long, hard look at finances. Studies show that women can be especially hard hit financially once a divorce actually becomes a reality. However, Maryland couples who think that a divorce may be a possibility-or has already crossed into that reality phase-may want to consider some of the following financial tips.

Spouses should make sure they have an accurate idea of the true standing of the marital finances. It can be a wise idea to scrutinize any joint banking or other types of accounts and take stock of marital assets. Tax returns and monthly bills can also give a good portrayal of the overall economic lay of the land. It may be a good idea to set aside emergency cash in a safe-and private-location. Just in case.

Meeting with a financial adviser can also be a good idea, sooner rather than later; preferably before the divorce is actually finalized. Divorce can be an understandably emotional time, but a person's financial stability once the papers are finalized can depend upon having accurate knowledge and solid advice before that point. Speaking of which, spouses who are contemplating divorce may want to review who they have designated on beneficiaries on everything from bank accounts to life insurance policies and even retirement funds as soon as possible. Spouses who die after a divorce but before making such beneficiary changes may not want their assets to pass to an ex-spouse-but that is likely just what will happen.

Maryland residents who may be facing a divorce should likely consider drawing up new estate planning documents entirely. Those who have never had such documents may especially benefit from such a step. One final thing to consider is establishing some sort of post-divorce budget that is practical and sustainable, and taking any necessary steps to ensure financial success once the marriage is dissolved. It may be tough to think about these things when a divorce is far from certain, but it may well save some people further heartache in a tumultuous time.

Source: HoumaToday.com, "Get financially prepared before getting a divorce," Hadley Malcolm, Sept. 10, 2012