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Planning is essential when getting a divorce

Residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are aware that divorce can happen to any married couple. The decision to end the marriage could be mutual or the desire of only one spouse. Whatever the reason, it is important for spouses who may have been planning a divorce or who had the idea suddenly thrust upon them to prepare for the legal process. Remember, divorce can be a complicated process that can affect both spouses' futures, so planning is essential.

Documentation is the first step to meet divorce issues proactively. Spouses should make a list of marital property, sources of income, debts and assets. Tax returns, insurance documents and retirement-benefit information are also needed. Spouses should also record all valuables, including collectibles, art and jewelry. Make copies of all documents and keep them in a safe place. Spouses should avoid hiding assets, as they can be discovered during property division and can lead to unwanted results.

Divorce can be a costly process and spouses who are planning to divorce should make a savings account for divorce costs. If they have separate bank accounts, they can use some of the money to fund their divorce. Avoid tapping into shared accounts because doing so can backfire during divorce. Also avoid using money from retirement accounts because withdrawal can result in excessive penalties.

It is also important for spouses to establish credit. A spouse should get an individual credit card, especially if they do not have credit established in their own name. They should also obtain credit reports to determine their credit rating. By doing so, spouses can be aware of their credit rating prior to divorce, because a good credit rating is important to obtaining loans post-divorce.

Lastly, spouses should note they can always rely on a divorce attorney for sensible and valuable advice. Legal professionals can provide a sense of clarity to divorce issues and other related concerns.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "How to Plan for a Divorce," Veronica Dagher, Sept. 6, 2014

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