So you have sailed through the choppy waters of divorce and reached agreements on big issues like children and family matters.
Unfortunately, you’re probably not done. This is no time to let complacency or fatigue rock your boat in the future with details you may not know to consider now.
Here are six often ignored details of divorce:
Full debt disclosure
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement or yours has expired, still ask for full disclosure of any debts your spouse had before you married and may have acquired since.
Even if you can agree now who will be responsible for each debt, it could hurt your credit if your spouse fails to make a payment.
Use caution when taking on new debt after you have agreed to divorce. Just because you purchase a new car or appliance before the divorce is finalized, even if bought out of necessity, this does not guarantee that your spouse will be required to help pay for it.
Check with your lawyer, such as Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP in Edmonton, before making large purchases.
Verify the wording of names on all documents
How your name is listed on accounts will determine your liability for and access to them. Are you a joint account holder or only an authorized user? It matters: Do you know why? Is your name on a mortgage or other loan but not on the deed or title? Make sure these all get sorted out.
Scrutinize financial statements
Subpoena these documents if your spouse won’t give you copies. Look closely at:
- Your personal and business tax returns for at least as long as you have been married,
- Your bank account, charge card, PayPal, and loan statements,
- And your spouse’s pay stubs, as far back as you can and for as many employers as you can. Are there payments or deposits you do not recognize?
Check payroll-deducted payments
Did you know that some employers offer payroll-deducted payments that can be sent to any designee at no charge and without any limit on how many of these they will process? Your spouse could pay for undisclosed purchases and make deposits to other savings or investment accounts.
Consider postponing the finalized divorce for practical reasons. For example, if your spouse is approaching retirement or your 20th anniversary is near, this could mean continuing health care coverage for you, sometimes without cost, if you can wait it out.
Do not let anyone devalue your contribution to and loss of the marriage. Negotiating trade-offs for what is important to each of you is a positive approach towards resolution. Make sure they are fair exchanges.
[Editor’s note: Click on the embedded link in case you need information on child custody laws in Florida.]
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