Most people going through a divorce process are focused on the emotional aspects of the situation and ignore the long-term financial implications. Women are especially vulnerable when it comes to comparing the value of immediate gains in a divorce settlement with the long-term value of those gains. However, there are things women can do to protect themselves through preparation during a marriage so that if divorce becomes a reality, they are insured against financial loss.
Women should be sure they have access to both cash and credit so that if they are forced to leave their homes, they will have the money to live and to hire a divorce attorney. Many women find that their assets are frozen and that they must borrow immediately after separation in order to survive. Further, women should be sure that they have access to all types of important documents such as wills, tax returns, and bank statements as well as property deeds and vehicle titles. Copies of these documents should be placed in a safe deposit box or other location to which only the woman has access.
Women should also be sure that they know what they own separately and jointly. If there is a question of the husband hiding assets, the woman should inform her divorce attorney immediately so that a proper search can be made for those assets. Finally, women should talk to their attorneys about the value of an asset over the long-term versus the immediate gratification of obtaining that asset.
While divorce is a terribly emotional process, it does not have to be financially devastating as well. Being informed and talking to a divorce attorney immediately when deciding to separate can help women protect their financial futures in the face of a divorce action.
Source: Forbes, "Three Types of Financial Mistakes Divorcing Women Make (And How to Avoid Them)," Jeff Landers, Nov. 27, 2012