When you are considering a divorce in New Mexico, chances are your mind will be racing over all the things you wish to protect, from your property and finances to your relationship with your kids. Your assets and finances are what will set up your post-divorce life and everything in it, so here are four assets you should think about protecting right now to secure your financial future.
Your Retirement Accounts
Retirement accounts can and do become part of property division in a divorce. When you are considering them, include the accounts in your name as well as the accounts in your spouse’s name alone. If you, as a couple, decided that one spouse would contribute less while the other spouse contributed more, make a note of that, too. Retirement accounts often have significant value that would take a lot of effort to rebuild, which is why it’s so important to protect them in a divorce.
When you are reviewing retirement accounts, also consider survivor benefits, pension plans and the designation of beneficiaries. Even if you or your spouse will not be retiring at the time of divorce, you still may have an interest in any future pension plan payments your spouse will receive. In addition, you need to consider whether you should remain the beneficiary on any spouse’s retirement plan post-divorce or whether you have any interest in the survivor’s benefit of any pension plans.
Your Current Home
The family home is one of the biggest assets in a divorce, and it often has emotional value, too. It can benefit you to protect your home in the divorce, especially if the home is currently undervalued or you have substantial equity. However, it can also make more sense to sell the home and either receive that equity or get rid of high mortgage payments that are not going to be affordable on one spouse’s income.
If one person receives the home in divorce, note that you may not be able to refinance it. This means if you had a mortgage on it together and the keeping spouse is now responsible for the payments, it will affect the credit histories of both spouses if those payments aren’t made on time.
Your Financial Accounts
As you move from one household to two, it is vital to protect your accounts moving forward. This includes savings and checking accounts and other investment accounts you may have. You and your spouse will both still need access to money as the divorce progresses. Since these types of accounts are far more liquid than retirement ones, protect it so your money does not run out while the divorce is underway, which will just add even more stress to your life.
Keep in mind that you should not make large purchases with any joint accounts as your divorce moves toward finalization. Since property has not yet been divided, both spouses have the right to those funds, and the court will take action against a spouse who is intentionally wasting those shared funds.
Your Emotionally Significant Property
As you divorce, think about items that are worth more to you than just dollars and cents, such as family heirlooms. Decide what items hold the most personal value to you so you can tell your family law attorney and keep those items protected.
In any case with more than just a few hundred dollars at risk, it’s wise to speak to a family law attorney about how to protect assets during a divorce. In addition, keep in mind that fighting can drive up your divorce expenses, so choose your battles wisely.