One major concern for many divorcing New Mexico couples is how the money and property will be divided. This is only natural, as each spouse wants to protect their own financial health as they prepare to move on and they also want to keep the property they value the most.
When you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, the way in which your property is divided is not straightforward at first. However, you can take steps to protect your property and money in your divorce that do not include any dishonest maneuvers that could jeopardize your settlement later.
Speak to professionals
Having the right information is crucial when it comes to your assets in a divorce. A family law attorney can help protect your rights and clarify what you should and should not do with property while your divorce is underway. Other professionals, such as a certified financial planner, can offer specific advice when it comes to assets you are particularly concerned about.
Never hide any assets
Attempting to hide assets can backfire on you in a major way. You will lose credibility with the New Mexico court, and the judge can consider your behavior as a mark against you when it comes to property division. Be open and honest about exactly what your debts and assets are throughout the process.
Build your credit
If you can, close joint credit card accounts and get some in your own name. This will help you establish credit on your own, which may be needed if you’ve been doing all your credit products jointly with your spouse in recent years. If your joint accounts have balances or you are not able to close them for another reason, speak to the credit card issuers about freezing the accounts for now. If one of you has already filed for divorce, check with your divorce attorney about the proper way to do this. This way, neither you nor your spouse can add to the joint debt as the divorce moves along.
Change your beneficiaries
Switch beneficiaries on any plans that you named your spouse as the recipient of. Depending on the plan and the Court orders in place, you may need to wait until your divorce is final, but it should be done as soon as possible either way. Retirement accounts, investment accounts, life insurance policies and more require beneficiaries to be named at the time of creation, so review all of your current beneficiaries to ensure your money will go the right people should anything happen to you.
Know the value of what you own
Don’t simply guess the values of your assets. When it comes to big-ticket items, such as cars, real estate and other high-value assets, it pays to know their exact value. You may need to have these assets appraised by a professional for a fee, but the knowledge and proof of value you’ll receive is worth it.
Control divorce costs
Consider ways in which you can keep the divorce costs down. Litigation is often expensive and long, so consider alternatives such as mediation or collaborative divorce to help prevent your divorce from draining the money out of your marriage. Your attorney can help you explore your divorce resolution options so you can make the most informed decision.
While it’s easy to let emotions get in the way of making the right financial decisions during your divorce, that can cost you dearly down the road. Keep your emotions in check as much as possible as you work out your final divorce agreements. What you will be left with is the initial financial basis for your post-divorce life, so it’s important to make the best choices you can in light of your situation and the exact circumstances of your case.