Taking Him to the Cleaners: Why Divorce is Never Fair

Vindication and vengeance are the handmaidens of some divorcing couples. Close the accounts, sell off the cars, and leave him without a penny. Break the good china, run steak knives down the new paint in the master bedroom. It’s okay to be angry that your marriage is at an end, but all that ire could go towards a more amicable parting as opposed to a ruination of the assets. If you’re not careful, you could miss key elements in the months leading up to the final dissolution of the marriage that could have far reaching implications for your own finances. Pay close attention. Your credit score might depend on it.

Close out the Joint Credit Cards

As painful as it might be to give up spending power in the short-term, closing out joint credit accounts is a vital step in the divorce process. Shutting down those lines of credit in both you and your spouse’s name eliminates the possibility of your spouse maxing out the cards and saddling you with the debt once the divorce finalizes. Taking out credit cards in your own name is the safest way to maintain your credit and avoid post-divorce debt problems, according to MSN Money.

Monitor Your Credit Report

Your ex-spouse could turn the tables on your attempts to clean out their financial closet by taking out loans in your name. Obtain a free copy of your annual report from all three credit-reporting bureaus – Equifax, Trans Union and Experian – and comb through it for any unknown accounts or lines of credit. Federal law allows you to contest any item appearing on your credit report and requires the agencies showing the notion to investigate its validity within 30 days of receiving your written notice.

Yes, You Have to Sell the House

The majority of all battles in divorce proceedings involve marital assets, including the marital home. As much as it may pain you to do so, selling the house and splitting the proceeds with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can remove much of the headache from the asset division process. The act also leaves the court out of dividing what it most likely the largest jointly held property of your marriage. Fighting the sale, and involving the court, may result in you losing the property altogether, which doesn’t provide any benefit for the time and money you’ve put into it.

Watch Out for that Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy after a divorce is common, especially if there’s a substantial reduction in income for both spouses and heaps of unpaid debt. Be careful that your former spouse doesn’t file for bankruptcy without informing you of their intentions. Creditors could come looking for satisfaction from you for marital debts, if they can no longer access the accounts of your recently divorced ex-spouse. If you have to file bankruptcy, make sure you do so at the same time as your former spouse so the act grants you a truly fresh start. Involving an attorney may be necessary if creditors refuse to cooperate.

Don’t Cling to Marital Fault

The specific reasons or events for the divorce or dissolution, barring illegal activity or other egregious behavior, has little bearing on the court’s decisions regarding the separation of assets or spousal support. While your spouse’s actions could be the catalyst for you seeking a divorce, they shouldn’t be the primary motivator as your New Jersey divorce attorneys seek a fair and equitable separation of assets. Doing so could make you seem vindictive in the eyes of the court, which may work against you in the end.

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