Are you in a relationship where your spouse pays all the bills, manages the finances and prepares the tax returns? If you are, you are not alone. Many people divide and specialize roles and responsibilities in their relationship. This is often the most efficient and effective way to manage the household. Unfortunately, if you are the individual who is unfamiliar with the household finances, you could be left out in the cold if the marriage deteriorates.
While very few people enter into a marriage with the expectation of it terminating, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself before and during your marriage which do not require a disruption of your otherwise healthy relationship. Prior to your marriage, take the time to secure and save your last retirement and/or quarterly financial statements. This ation will be valuable evidence of your separate interest, in the likely event these accounts are subject to division during a divorce or dissolution. If you own a home, you may want to consider having it appraised prior to the marriage or make sure to save any appraisal completed as a result of a purchase or refinance. In the event you find yourself entering a marriage with a substantial amount of assets, you should consider completing a prenuptial agreement.
You don’t have to be a financial wizard to protect yourself from potential financial misconduct by your spouse. You should however take the time to the known assets and debts of your marriage by maintaining your own copies of: tax returns (last three years), retirement account statements; spouses pay check stubs; credit card statements; mortgage statements; checking and saving accounts; car loans; vehicle titles; etc. With this information, even outdated, it will allow you or your counsel to obtain important evidence to negotiate or litigate a property settlement.
If you are interested in learning more about what steps you can take to protect yourself before initiating a divorce action, please contact us at513-241-6650.
Mark E. Godbey & Associates
708 Walnut Street, Suite 600
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2022
(513) 241-6649 fax