Nobody wants to go through a divorce, but roughly 50 percent of married couples do. So how do you plan for your financial future after the breakup?
1. Pull your credit reports
You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. These show all credit accounts that exist in your name alone and jointly with someone else. Your credit score can be damaged if a spouse or ex-spouse fails to pay joint bills.
2. Try to work with your ex
Continue to use your accounts—individual or joint—as usual. If you don’t have money set aside for hiring a divorce attorney and other related expenses, try to agree with your spouse about each of you spending a conservative and comparable amount. If your relationship isn’t amicable, ask your attorney about a legal separation, which would dictate how you both use money until the divorce is finalized.
3. Don’t forget health insurance
Health insurance could be a substantial expense if you used to be on your spouse’s policy. COBRA is an option but an expensive one, and it lasts for only 36 months, so begin to look for your own policy even before you’re divorced. Open enrollment for health insurance doesn’t begin again until the end of the year, but since a change in health coverage stemming from a divorce is a qualifying life event, you’re likely eligible for a plan under a Special Enrollment Period.