You have decided to get divorced. Where do you begin? A top priority is putting your finances in order. This will give you a solid start once the divorce is final and minimize potential surprises. Let's be honest, you've probably already had enough surprises for a while.
At the top of your list should be getting a credit report. Order them right away. You can get a free credit report from each of the reporting agencies each year. Once you get them go over them with a fine toothed-comb and see if there are any discrepancies or items you may have forgotten to include in your settlement agreement- for example, credit card debt.
You are entitled to a free credit report every twelve months, that's once a year. The top three companies you want to make sure you get a report from are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Some of the information you can expect to find in your credit report include: how you pay your bills, where you live, if you have been sued, if you have filed for bankruptcy and/or if you have been arrested. Keep in mind this information is used by employers, landlords, insurers and applications for credit. Also, beware of imposter websites – we suggest you look up the Federal Trade Commission for details.
Close joint credit cards, if you are not prohibited by a court. The last thing you want to learn is that your spouse went on a spending spree and you are now responsible for this debt.
Tax refunds, if filed jointly, a refund check will be sent in both your name and your spouse's name or direct-deposited into an account. Use a settlement agreement to make sure the refund is divided between both of you.
With frequent flier miles you have a couple of options. You can either have tickets issued to one of the parties or one of the spouses can monetarily compensate the other for the points.
If Insurance is prepaid, such as house, life, disability and health insurance, then determine the amount that is currently prepaid. Prepayments can be considered part of your marital assets when valuing and dividing up property and finances.
Timeshares can also be dealt with in a few different ways. You and your spouse can continue to own it jointly, one spouse retain it (often at a lesser value than it's purchase price, since timeshares are usually worth less than what is owed on them- consider an appraisal to find out for sure), or you can agree to sell the timeshare and split any equity or debt.
Professional dues and magazine subscriptions normally offer a significant discount when prepaid two to three years in advance. If monies from your shared accounts were used to pay for this make sure you account for this when reviewing your finances.
Attorney James Cairns can legally help you protect your financial assets by preparing a settlement agreement which will be legally binding. If you and your spouse can agree upon how you are going to divide your property and finances, a settlement agreement can save you money. Contact Attorney Cairns at 888.863.9115 or click on the words SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT to learn more.