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Tips for easing or avoiding common property division woes

In the process of ending a marriage, few things are more fraught with stress and tension than the division of marital wealth. Property division often becomes the primary focus of a divorce, and both parties can grow frustrated while working out who will get what. In the worst cases, one spouse will take action to intentionally deplete marital assets, which can complicate matters even further. It is important for Arizona spouses to take preventative steps to avoid such an outcome.

As soon as a spouse has made the decision to file for divorce, one of the first orders of business should be to close or restrict access to any shared accounts. This can help to ensure that one's soon-to-be ex does not express his or her frustration or anger by racking up new debt. To the greatest extent possible, all open lines of credit should be paid off and closed. If that is not possible, contact the creditor and explain that a divorce is about to take place, and ask that the account be frozen.

In regard to shared bank accounts, it may be a good idea to remove half of the funds and deposit them in a new account that is solely in one's own name. This can help ensure that both spouses have access to a fair share of marital funds. If this approach is chosen, it is important to discuss that choice with one's spouse immediately after, so that he or she understands what action has been taken and is assured that a fair share of the funds remain available to him or her.

For many Arizona spouses, it can seem wrong to make these decisions without the participation of one's spouse. It is important to realize that closing open accounts or removing a share of marital funds is only a preventative measure, and is not intended to defraud the other party of his or her property division rights. Of course, not every divorcing couple will experience the intentional depletion of marital funds, but spouses that have gone through that ordeal often wish that they had taken steps to prevent the outcome from taking place.

Source: The Huffington Post, "8 Divorce Hacks that Will Save You Time & Money", Stacy D. Phillips, Jan. 11, 2016

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