Protecting Your Assets in a Divorce: 4 Tips to Safeguard Your Future

By Michael DiFalco
Partner

Divorce can have far-reaching implications for your finances and quality of life. It doesn’t matter whether you and your spouse are on the same page regarding a divorce — you shouldn’t leave your financial future to chance. 

Your divorce agreement covers alimony, child support, and division of your property and assets. It also involves business ownership, royalties, intellectual property, and retirement benefits. 

Unless you’re knowledgeable about family law, you may not even realize the profound impact a divorce can have on your finances for the rest of your life. Taking the time to educate yourself and choosing an experienced divorce lawyer are the best ways to protect your future during the divorce process. 

4 Tips to Protect Your Finances in a Divorce

A divorce is often an emotional time. Even when a divorce seems amicable, you can never tell if one spouse will suddenly become upset, angry, or manipulative. The terms of a divorce can have long-term consequences for both spouses’ finances. 

Knowing the most important steps to take during a divorce helps safeguard your future and your finances from vindictive behavior. 

1. Separate Your Bank Accounts

Feuding couples might automatically distrust one another during the divorce process. Separating bank accounts as soon as possible is always a good rule of thumb, no matter how amicable a divorce may seem. 

If both spouses maintain access to shared finances during a divorce, nothing is stopping one spouse from emptying shared accounts. 

Don’t make the mistake of trusting your soon-to-be ex-spouse to behave honorably. Far too often, divorce attorneys see one trusting spouse left with empty accounts because they assumed their spouse would act fairly. 

It also may make sense to deposit a bonus or other income into a separate account once you realize that a divorce is likely.

2. Don’t Make Assumptions

If you’re not a divorce lawyer, it can be easy to assume that an agreement is fair, only to discover later that it was financially disastrous. 

Every element in a divorce needs to be carefully considered, including legal and tax implications and post-divorce reality. 

For example, one common point of contention in divorce is which spouse will keep the marital home. People are often emotionally attached to their homes, and being the spouse to keep the home in a divorce can feel like a victory of sorts. 

In reality, divorce lawyers often see that the spouse who wins the house simply doesn’t have the assets to keep up with the mortgage, taxes, payments, and maintenance. Also it is common to litigate issues regarding the ultimate sale of the house or refinance of the mortgage down the road, even though the parties were able to settle matters without court intervention at the time of the agreement.  

Before you fight for a specific outcome, run the numbers and make sure it’s an arrangement that benefits you in the long term. 

3. Update Your Will

Procrastinating or forgetting to update your will can result in your former spouse ending up with assets you didn’t intend for them to have. 

Your estate plans don’t just impact your finances after death. They can also impact your finances while you’re still alive. If you pass away before a divorce is finalized, the divorce action “abates” meaning it terminates as though it never happened, so your spouse will receive whatever assets they may have been entitled to without the divorce proceeding. 

If your former spouse was designated as your power of attorney or medical power of attorney, you risk leaving them with decision-making power and access to your finances if you end up in an accident that leaves you incapacitated. 

As long as you’re already working with a lawyer and reorganizing your affairs, update your estate plans to reflect your wishes. 

4. Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

The one factor you have the most control over in a divorce is the attorney you choose to represent you. 

Take the time to read reviews, ask about results, and hire an attorney who can demonstrate they know how to protect a client’s finances and deliver the outcomes they’re hoping for. 

Make sure to consider hiring an experienced local attorney who has credibility with the courts, established a reputation with other attorneys and a strategic strategy you are aligned with. 

Consult a Garden City, NY, Divorce Lawyer Today

If you’re considering divorce in Garden City, New York, you need an experienced divorce attorney to protect your finances. 

The award-winning divorce attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco put their decades of knowledge to work protecting you and your finances during a divorce. 

Learn how we can help with your divorce by calling Aiello & DiFalco and speaking with an experienced Garden City, New York, family law attorney today. 

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.