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Avoid the Pitfalls of Joint Debt

Avoid the Pitfalls of Joint Debt

Posted By Meyers Law Group, P.C. || 18-Oct-2013

As much as divorcing couples may want a clean split, when you have entangled finances, it may be hard to entirely part ways. The other spouse's financial history could still affect your current financial status. After all, you likely have joint bank accounts and joint credit cards. This probably means you have joint debt too. Does this describe your situation? Then here are five steps from Money Blue Book that you can employ to protect your financial future in the face of a divorce.

1) Research. It is usual for one spouse to handle the couple's finances. If you are not the spouse with this role, then you need to look into your finances, to learn where you stand. To walk away with a fair amount, you need to know what you have in joint accounts, what your tax returns looked like, and yes, what you have in debts.

2) Work with a lawyer. Hopefully, you are a couple who is able to divorce amicably, but even so, you still can benefit from the expertise of a legal professional. An experienced lawyer can help you understand equitable distribution, and what a fair amount means for you. Even if you feel up to achieving a DIY divorce, too often important details are left out, or costly slip-ups come back to haunt you later. Get a divorce lawyer now, and not to fix mistakes later.

3) Close any joint accounts. When a divorce is on the way, you want to protect yourself from your spouse's debt as much as you can. You probably are not going to want to split joint credit. Separating your finances from one another is a way to simplify a divorce; extricate yourself from the other's financial history where you can.

4) Open up your own account(s). During marriage, you have an individual credit score and history. Without the joint accounts to bolster this any longer, you need to start building credit on your own, through personal checking and savings accounts.

5) Look into insurance. This is not just for couples who are divorcing after 50. If you are getting coverage from your spouse's plan, then you need to find a new insurance policy. A good place to start is with your own job. Otherwise, you will need to search for a new policy, perhaps through an insurance agent or online. Also look at your life insurance policy. Is your spouse the beneficiary? You should probably update this. While in New York, a divorce will automatically end their beneficiary status, you do not want a life insurance policy to follow its own guidelines about who the beneficiary will be. You should name your own.

With your financial security on the line, an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer may be able to ensure that you receive your fair share in a divorce, enabling you to move on to a successful future. Learn more about what a committed lawyer can do for you when you contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C., where we do our utmost to help our clients achieve the future that they deserve.