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Severing financial ties during an Alabama divorce

Divorce can be full of uncertainties, and all Alabama spouses must realize that there is no way to predict how a person will react to the end of his or her marriage. Some spouses will accept the change and work toward reaching a mutually beneficial divorce settlement, while others will make every conceivable effort to delay, derail or complicate the divorce from start to finish. Because it is impossible to know what to expect, all spouses may benefit by preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best.

A big part of that preparation lies in creating financial distance between spouses. This is best accomplished either before the divorce is initiated or soon after. By creating a degree of separation, spouses are able to lessen the risk that one party will act out by making significant financial changes that impact the overall level of marital wealth.

One way to begin is with shared bank accounts. In some cases, the permission of both spouses is needed to close a joint account. If so, many spouses choose to remove half of the money held within the account, then immediately tell the other party that the remaining portion is available for his or her use. In most cases, once half of the funds have been relocated, the other spouse will agree to either close the account or change the paperwork to change to a single account-holder.

Closing joint credit cards is also a wise move. Here again, many creditors will not remove one party's name from an account without the written permission of both parties. However, if the account is paid off in full, an exception may be made. Closing any open lines of credit will prevent one's partner from running up significant debts prior to the divorce becoming final.

Many financial misdeeds can be accounted for during the divorce process, but it is important to note that addressing these issues will increase the overall cost of an Alabama divorce. A better course of action is to take a preventative approach, and to limit the degree of financial connection as early in the divorce process as possible. While it may not be possible to predict the response that one's partner will have to a divorce, it is entirely possible to mitigate the potential for damage.

Source:, "Breaking up is hard to do: Protecting assets in divorce", Kelli B. Grant, Jan. 17, 2016

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