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Protecting Your Finances in Separation or Divorce - Virginia Law Specific
Proactive Steps to Take in Contemplation of Separation or Divorce
I. Financial Record-keeping
Begin to assemble and make copies of the following:
II. Take an Inventory of Household Items
Make a list of the valuable things in your home, and note which ones you will want at separation
III. Your Credit
Obtain a credit report before you separate. Try to clear up any deficiencies or problems that may have been caused by you. This is also a good idea in case the other spouse starts to rack up debt after separation. It is a good idea to open up credit in your name only, if you haven't already done so. You must protect against the idea that your spouse is going to go on a shopping spree while you are still married.
Make a detailed listing of everything you spend or make in 30 days. You will need this for any income and expense reports.
V. Start Separating Your Finances
Open a checking account in your name only. Start separating your finances. Begin closing joint banking accounts. Most joint checking accounts can be closed by just one spouse (unless it is a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, contact your bank for more information). If closing the joint accounts will not work, withdraw a fair amount (half) and place it in your own account.
VI. Confidential Communications
If you are opening a checking account or have hired a lawyer, you may wish to rent a PO Box so as not to tip off your spouse. Also, you may wish to obtain another e-mail address used only for the purpose of communicating confidentially with your attorney. Keep this account password protected at all times.
Spouses in Virginia who are contesting child custody, visitation, or support must attend a parenting class. The court may also order attendance in uncontested cases.
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