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What to do financially before filing for divorce

While going through a divorce is certainly an emotional affair, residents of Minnesota should try to think pragmatically, as going through a divorce is also a financial affair. The following are some steps a person considering divorce can take ahead of time to protect themselves financially.

First of all, a person thinking of filing for divorce should first take account of his or her assets. What property belongs to you separately, what belongs to your partner separately and what is shared between you as marital property? Gathering this information can help clarify the property division process, which could lead to a smoother divorce.

Moreover, make sure that your financial information, such as bank account statements, is documented on paper. It may be a mistake to only rely on having access to your financial documents electronically, as it is possible to get locked out of an account. In addition, this can help ensure that you have some cash on hand. In some circumstances, it may be possible to open a bank account in your name only and transfer some funds from a joint bank account to your sole bank account. You do not need to totally deplete the funds in the joint account, but it could help to make sure you are able to pay your bills.

Also, you may want to make sure you understand the property division laws in your state. In community property states, marital property is owned by both spouses and in general will be divided in half between the spouses. However, in equitable distribution states, including Minnesota, property will be divided in a manner deemed fair, which may not equate to a 50/50 split.

Finally, when dividing assets in a divorce, think about what you really need financially in the long run. This will help ensure that any settlement reached meets your financial needs. Think about what you need to keep up your standard of living and take care of your children or even pay child support.

As you can see, by being prepared financially for a divorce, it could make the final outcome of the property division process more fair. However, understanding the legalities of a divorce can be difficult. Therefore, it can help to consult with an attorney, who can help explain the laws in your state and can protect your interests throughout the divorce process.

Source: Business Insider, "How to keep from losing everything in a divorce, in 6 steps," Emmie Martin, Feb. 1, 2017

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