How to Handle Shared Finances During the Divorce Process

In the midst of the anger, grief, confusion, and fears inherent in the divorce process, there are also cold hard realities that need to be addressed. One of the most obvious – and challenging is the question of how to share ongoing financial obligations with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Expenses that had always been viewed as ordinary and acceptable can quickly become points of contention once you’re fighting about everything else. Though it may be tempting to argue about who is responsible for what, doing so rarely makes as much sense as sitting down and discussing the situation and dividing things up in the way that makes the most sense.

Until your divorce is finalized and all of your assets and financial responsibilities have been officially divvied up, the two of you will need to find a way to make sure that common bills keep getting paid, while at the same time starting to differentiate responsibility for individual expenses. While it’s a good idea for each of you to set up your own bank accounts and credit cards to address personal expenses (and to establish a personal credit history), joint accounts should not be closed or spent until a mechanism has been put in place for proper distribution.

Once you each have your own accounts into which you can deposit paychecks and other income, you should analyze each common expense and obligation to determine who will pay for what or how the expense will be divided. It is important that you pay attention to each bill and that you continue paying: If either one of you decides to stop making payments, it will impact both of your credit ratings, so make sure that you’re monitoring each bill and making sure that payments that your spouse has agreed to take care of are actually being paid.

If you’re not certain about your spouse’s spending habits or have concerns about marital debts that they have accrued without your knowledge, it’s a good idea to request a credit report. This will not only inform you of all accounts that are linked to your Social Security Number but will also help you make sure that all joint accounts are appropriately divided.

When you’re getting divorced, you anticipate the challenge of having to split assets, but managing your finances while you’re in the midst of the process can be complicated too. For assistance navigating this and other tricky situations, contact our compassionate divorce attorneys today.