Published February 24, 2020|4 min read
When the divorce process is in full swing, there are a lot of obvious things to split right off the bat, like the kids and house. But there are smaller financial details that can seriously add up if they fall through the cracks.
Whether it’s a family gym membership or a shared safety deposit box, you wouldn’t want to leave these key details until after a divorce is finalized.
Here are nine smaller financial details you should iron out before leaving your ex for good.
If you’re going through a divorce you’re probably focusing on major joint assets, like your children and finances, but if you’re a Netflix, Amazon or Hulu streamer, you probably won’t want to keep sharing those accounts.
Is sharing your streaming password legal? We looked into it.
“The main goal is to cut all loose ends, so there are no problems after the divorce,” said Marc Anidjar, co-founder and senior partner at the law offices of Anidjar & Levine.
Places like Costco or Sam’s Club won’t know you’re going through a divorce but someone is paying that membership fee and you probably won’t want your ex getting the benefits. The same can be said for gym memberships, golf courses or country clubs, said Donna Cheswick, certified divorce financial analyst at Cheswick Divorce Solutions.
One of the first considerations is separating joint credit card accounts, but it can be easy to forget the airline miles and hotel points stacked up on a joint card, said Cheswick. It may seem like a smaller detail, but you don’t want your ex using the free airfare or hotel stays you’ve earned.
Having a family cell phone plan probably eased the monthly bill, but similar to streaming accounts, you won’t want to continue sharing your plan with your ex.
“Once you decide to divorce, you will want to cut legal and financial ties to risk being held liable for anything that is not your fault,” said Anidjar.
Changing the title on a car is usually done sooner than later, but it’s important to remember that car insurance costs can be less expensive when multiple people are insured.
“When you separate joint car insurance it becomes more expensive for both parties,” said Cheswick.
She recommended calling your insurance agency and asking what the cost will be to insure you separately. While it may be a price jump, it will be less of a shock after-the-fact and can be built into your financial planning and budgeting.
Another thing Cheswick said people should be aware of is safety deposit boxes and specifically, the key to access them. You wouldn’t want to remember that special something you tucked away after the divorce is finalized.
Hopefully your attorney or certified divorce financial analyst reminds you to change your power of attorney and proxy during divorce proceedings, but in case they don’t, change it! You wouldn’t want your ex to be the one deciding whether to pull the plug.
Whether you’re going through a divorce or not, it’s always good practice to get a copy of your credit report. If you’re going through a divorce this is particularly important to remind yourself of any joint accounts you might not have thought of in years.
If you don’t have joint accounts, you’re still on the hook if you’ve authorized your ex on your credit card. You wouldn’t want your ex to extend a line of credit in your name, said Cheswick.
“The credit card companies do not care about divorce. If you are both on a credit card, you can be held liable for any charges they rack up,” added Anidjar.
It may feel like a win to get the house, but it’s important to remember that if you’ve split the mortgage thus far, you will be fully responsible for those payments going forward, said Cheswick.
“It’s important to realize that your expenses will increase but your income is not increasing,” said Cheswick. “Take a very deep dive into your monthly expenses during the divorce process, not after-the-fact. Ask yourself, where will I live? What will that cost me, and can I afford it?”
If your ex-spouse controlled your monthly budget, take a look at our guide to budgeting so you don’t need to rely on anyone but yourself.
Image: Alfred Gescheidt (Getty)
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