Splitting up is hard to do — just ask Ariana Grande and Mac Miller — but it becomes a lot trickier when you’re married. When your task goes from “consciously uncoupling” to officially divorcing, you have a lot of checks and balances to keep track of to make sure your paperwork is correct. The same kind of care is needed for your finances. Divorce involves matters of your check book as much as your heart, so you’ll need to check in with this guide to make sure your finances survive your split.
1. Close Joint Accounts
While few couples merge their finances entirely, most open joint accounts to facilitate paying mutual bills and responsibilities. According to a survey carried out by TD Bank, more than two-thirds of married couples share at least one bank account to do just that. If you share any bank accounts or other financial assets, this is the time to close them. They have the potential to cause grief if you were to keep them open, especially if you both start withdrawing funds from these accounts without alerting the other of your actions.
As you go through the motions of closing these accounts and distributing the funds and/or assets, you should take this as an opportunity to review your personal finances. If you added your former partner’s name to any personal accounts or credit cards, you should have them removed now.
2. Stay on Top of Bills
Closing a joint account is difficult — not just because of the bureaucratic hoops you’ll have to jump through but also because you need to stay on top of any bills this account once paid. By closing this account, you’re halting any pre-authorized payments usually scheduled to pay bills, subscriptions, and other services. If you take on any of these responsibilities on your own, you need to replace this joint account with an alternative means to pay until these debts are clear.
If this new account doesn’t have enough cash to cover these bills, you risk late fines and other expensive penalties. It’s important to check that you can pay these bills if you choose to close the joint account before your debts are paid. If you forget to do this, a fast-acting cash loan can help you bridge the gap between your own finances and joint accounts. For especially pressing responsibilities, online lenders are a quick way to pay bills. They’ve streamlined their lending process, so you can get the cash you need as quickly as possible. Their digital process lets companies like MoneyKey facilitate fast online payday loans in just one business day. This is ideal if you forgot about a bill or two in the chaos that is your divorce.
3. Change the Name and Adjust Your Will
Divorce isn’t just a symbolic separation; it’s the bureaucratic recognition of your split. In addition to absolving any joint accounts, you need to make changes to the names listed on other accounts, licenses, insurance, and pensions. For most women who took their partners’ last names, this will include reverting back to their maiden names on their driving license, SSN, bank accounts, and health insurance.
But this point is an important one for anyone going through a divorce. You’ll need to check your will, insurance, pension, and any other account where you named your ex as a beneficiary. While you’ll be able to adjust for basic name changes affecting bank accounts, you’ll need to involve your attorney for things that involve your will.
4. Rework Your Budget
Your finances as a married person won’t be the same as your finances as a single individual. Depending on your relationship, your split may result in you having to pay alimony, child support, medical expenses, or other bills. Having never paid these bills before, it’s easy to let them slip from your mind when you’re newly single.
You can avoid accidentally missing essential payments by reworking your budget. A money management app like Mint can help you stay on top of bills as well as reorganize your budget. Once you let it sync with your financial accounts, it can send reminders of important due dates. If you couple this with automatic payments, you can avoid being late on a critical bill ever again.
Money is always a touchy subject. It’s especially challenging when love is no longer in the air. You might find it difficult to talk about finances with your ex after your split, but it’s important you tackle this conversation sooner rather than later. The faster you can deal with changing accounts and other important details, the faster you can put this part of your life behind you. Just remember — speed is important, but don’t use it as an excuse to be impulsive. Your finances deserve a slow and methodical approach, so take care when you’re making any changes.