Money Moves To Make When You Face Divorce

When you live with someone and share financial obligations, the end of the relationship hits your wallet as much as it does your heart. Splitting up forces you to take an inventory of false assumptions and trust issues you and your ex had with money as well as everything else.

A post at Dinks Finance offers these ways to cope with the financial side of going your separate ways:

* Get your own bank account. This is especially important for those who don’t work or make significantly less than their spouses. It’s fine to keep a joint account for shared expenses for the short term, but you’ll need a separate account so you’ll be able to get a hold of funds when you need them.

* Get agreements in writing. You’re going to bicker about finances, so you may as well refuse to do so verbally, forcing the two of you to settle your differences in writing. If you document your agreements and arguments via text message and email, there will be fewer grey areas when it comes time for you and your lawyers to crunch numbers.

* Remove emotion from the equation. Despite your hot and cold feelings for your adversary, you need to stay clinical and professional, treating your relationship as you would a business operation. Unless you yell a lot and bring up lingering resentments during business negotiations, in which case you’re probably just best off saying as little as possible.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself When Facing a “Financial Divorce” [Dinks Finance]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    If you can’t see it coming and make money moves BEFORE divorce is a possibility, you probably deserve to have your financial life screwed up as well.

    Sorry. There’s always signs, divorce doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Amen. I re-established a personal bank account about 6 months ago, and do all of my financial transactions from there. This article would have been much more helpful if it detailed strategies for hiding money from your spouse, not just seperating it.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      Sorry, but what an asinine comment. Even if you can see what might be coming that doesn’t necessarily give one the wherewithal or power to ‘make some money moves.’ When people have shared finances it’s not like you can just take out a few hundred bucks per month and not have anyone notice. Especially when one spouse has no or little of their own income…if they want to start a divorce stash where is that money supposed to come from?

      Similarly, if you are living in anything close to a paycheck-to-paycheck condition it’s not like there is extra money to move around.

    • trencherman says:

      One common sign that men don’t see coming, is when their youngest child graduates / leaves home. I know several women who left as soon as the last kid had flown the coop.

  2. JennQPublic says:

    Try choosing someone to marry who is a good person who doesn’t screw people over. Then even if things don’t work out, the divorce can be handled with civility.

    It amazes me how many people will happily hook up with someone who treats others poorly, thinking that since they’re in love, *they* will never be on the receiving end of that treatment.

    • Costner says:

      I’ve known several couples who were very nice people, but once things got to the divorce stage the gloves came off. I don’t think you can always see it coming.

      For instance, a friend of mine was happily married and neither one of them ever cared about money. They were both good people for the most part and were always nice to everyone around them, but he was a moron and ended up having an affair. When she found out about it she became a different woman. She started acting violent towards him and the other woman, she started engaging in psychotic behavior, and her personality changed to the point she was trying to become an entirely different person. She pushed friends and family away and when they finally agreed divorce was the only option she went after him for every single penny he had including things he had before the marriage and things his parents had given him just because they had any sort of value.

      One could argue it was her right and nobody can debate whether or not the divorce was his fault… but it was an example of how someone who was a very civil person became someone entirely different once they were going through divorce proceedings.

      Divorce changes people – even those we think are “good, normal” people. It is a very emotional situation and changes people, so when I hear someone say “I would never be like that if I got a divorce” or “I don’t believe in divorce” I just laugh.

      • JennQPublic says:

        “Good person who doesn’t screw people over” kind of implies not, you know, betraying your spouse in the most obvious and hurtful way possible. The guy in your story is not a “good person”.

        I can’t blame the wife for going a little crazy when the person who was supposed to love and care for her stole her life (their marriage and planned future) from her and gave it to another woman.

        • Costner says:

          I see your point, but he was considered a good person before that. She had no warning and thus could not have known… you can’t always spot that type of person quite as easily as you might suggest.

          I know someone who married a self-proclaimed Christian girl who was a song-leader at her church, loved her parents, lived a holy life yada, yada, yada… but three years into their marriage she had an affair. It was totally out of character, out of left field, and unbelievable to everyone that knew her including her own mother. They ended up divorced, but I know specifically she was the type who stated before marriage that she “did not believe in divorce” and she was the stereotypical good girl who everyone thought was incapable of adultery.

          So I’ll agree it is a wise decision to avoid those who don’t treat others with respect, but sometimes a good person can become something else later in life. Just goes to show some people change.

          • kujospam says:

            Ah, I totally agree with you. Ignorant makes bliss, and when someone gets less ignorant. Things generally change.

    • P=mv says:

      My husband was to all accounts a decent, nice man. Watching him in the middle of the divorce has changed my opinion.

      PS: Your timing on this is perfect. I just started moving money around and getting my own account. Can’t wait for this divorce to be over.

    • Bativac says:

      You don’t always know. I got to know my wife for nearly 10 years before we married and I’d like to think I know her pretty well. But you don’t always know.

      • JennQPublic says:

        That’s true, you can never be 100% certain, but when you know someone has a history of treating others selfishly or callously, don’t assume they won’t do it to you.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          This, summed up in a favorite Maya Angelou quote:

          “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

    • aja175 says:

      If only it worked that way all the time. I didn’t find out what kind of person my partner was until 3 years into it. Thankfully we never got married…

    • econobiker says:

      Sex, Money, and Politics- know before hand before committing for real…

  3. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    1. Sell everything you own.
    2. Empty all your accounts.
    3. Go to Vegas.
    4. Bet it all on black.
    5. Profit. Maybe. At a risk of slightly less than 50%.

    If you win, give your ex half. If you lose…well, you no longer have anything to lose.

  4. KyBash says:

    #1 should be to open a bank account in a different bank!

    Once a bank or credit union has linked you to another person, they never forget.

    My checking account took a major hit three years after my divorce because my ex didn’t make a car payment. It finally got straightened out, but it was an uncomfortable sixteen days before my money was returned.

    • apasserby says:

      I agree 100% – a different bank. Even though the bank manager assured me that my soon-to-be ex-wife would have no access she certainly did. Simply because we lived at the same address my account was linked to hers. Do I need say what she did? Used my funds to pay all her expenses. You can imagine my outrage at that manager. Took a short while to recover my funds and I moved all my business to another bank. And, yes I did file a legal complaint.

  5. HappyBigCar says:

    Not all divorcing couples are adversaries! There are a lot of us out there (not making headlines) who are being nice to one another, acting like adults, dividing finances and time with children fairly, and working hard to make sure our kids are well cared for even tough our marriages stopped being healthy.

    Thanks for propagating a nasty stereotype that all divorcing spouses are litigious, acrimonius enemies. It’s just not the case for MANY of us.

  6. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    When you live with someone and share financial obligations, the end of the relationship hits your wallet as much as it does your heart.

    More, actually.

  7. econobiker says:

    Don’t move out of a shared titled house if you can all stand it. Most places the spouse who moves out first loses alot of rights per money and children. It usually doesn’t matter the reason for moving out unless the move is due to documented-by-police-report type abuse.

    Also check into your accounts (bank, credit card, etc) to see if spouse has any opened under both of your names that you don’t know about. Even for “authorized user” on credit cards…

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’m to the point where I can’t stand it much longer. My husband won’t move out, and I’ve told him I want a divorce many times, and he says “but I don’t!”. He said he won’t sign the papers even if I file. And I can’t make him leave.

      It sucks that I will have to leave a home I paid for because he won’t man up.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Yes, it does, but is that worse than staying in the situation? Check the laws in your state; in most places, it’s complete bullshit that the spouse can stop a divorce by objecting to it. There are numerous ways around that and a good lawyer will know them.

      • Not Given says:

        I’d talk to a lawyer and see if you can change the locks and put his stuff out in boxes.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I can add one more thing – if you have any joint accounts, like for car payments, loan payments, etc., try to untangle the mess slowly to get as much in separate names as possible. I’ve managed over the last 4 years to get everything separated except one item. It’s shared, but the payment is only $85/month, so if my husband won’t pay it, I won’t lose my good credit rating.

  8. RxDude says:

    Why are divorces so expensive?

    Because they’re worth it.

  9. JiminyChristmas says:

    I would like to second the advice to get your own account. A relative of mine is going through what appeared to be a relatively amicable divorce. Amicable until she went to transfer some money from their joint checking account and found that her husband had changed the password.

    Even if everyone seems to be rational and reasonable at the present, there are never any guarantees it will continue that way throughout the process.

  10. Dallas_shopper says:

    I was lucky in my divorce; my ex and I split our finances 50/50, no arguments, and we’re still friends 5 years after separating.

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Not only do I have my own bank account, my dumb assed husband managed to get his account closed at the credit union. He overdrew his checking account by almost $600 in January, and it’s now a few dollars in the black, but they closed his account for 1 year. No, I did not bail him out. I’ve been the Ant for over 20 years, and his Grasshopper-ish behaviour needs to stop.

    When he told me, the first words out of my mouth were “no, you’re not getting back on my account”, and when he asked me what he was going to do about paying bills by mail, I told him “money orders and stamps”. He’s still whining about this. I told him he’s lucky he wasn’t arrested for theft.

    I am trying desparately to find someplace to move to, but with a large dog and two cats, and rents that are more than 40-50% of my takehome pay in my area, it’s proving to be an uphill battle. All my friends are married and have families, so there’s no one I can crash with temporarily.

    • dragoncat42 says:

      What worked for me was moving my boyfriend in without asking my ex (he’d already carved out a sleeping area elsewhere in the house for himself) and slowly making the house less and less comfortable for him. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that my boyfriend was into reptiles and kept bringing more of them into the house. Finally, my ex started spending more and more time at his girlfriend’s house till he wasn’t spending any time at my house anymore. By that time, I had gotten a lawyer and had her send him a ‘get the fuck out’ letter (obviously more diplomatically worded than that but you get the idea).

      Granted, that won’t work for everyone but the basic idea of making the place progressively less comfortable for him should do the trick.

      • La Flama Blanca says:

        Smart play. My wife cheated on me and decided to stay in the house keep appearances that she didn’t do anything wrong to the outside world.

        I started having friends & family stay over the weekend, which did the trick.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Like cutting off the cable service. Good idea. When he’s home from his truck driving job, he lays on the couch and channel surfs. While I cook, clean, work full time, mow the lawn, take out the garbage, help my parents, etc. You get the picture. As a plus, he can’t figure out how to work the Roku or even send an email for that matter. I could also make his account on the computer unusable. Thank you.

        • dragoncat42 says:

          That’s another way I did it. I got tired of the ‘Mickey Mouse’ set up he had for the internet. My boyfriend got tired of hearing me complain about it so he set up Comcast in his name and then I told my ex that I was cancelling the house phone and the DSL service (I didn’t need the house phone anymore anyway). I also changed the password for my Netflix account. According to my daughter…that really annoyed him :)

  12. EasilyDistracted says:

    Although I opened my own checking account when my then-wife told me she wanted to separate, I let her keep our joint account open so she’d be able to keep writing checks while she transitioned to her own accounts. Two years after our divorce, she still hadn’t gotten her own account in spite of my regular requests to close the joint account.

    Finally, after she ignored an ultimatum from me, I went to the bank, closed the joint account and got the balance on a cashier’s check that I had the bank make out to her. The tellers at the bank treated me like I was an a-hole and the ex got some ammunition for convincing her friends what a bastard I was for closing the account on her without any warning.

  13. icerabbit says:

    “Money Moves To Make When You Face Divorce”

    Money moves …
    Money moves to make ?
    Money moves to make … what ?
    Make when you face divorce?

    Color me confused, but that title doesn’t seem proper English and makes no sense.

    Maybe it was a Google Translate title?