Getting divorced can result in individuals having to rebuild their finances from scratch. However, there are some steps Pennsylvania residents can take to lessen the negative impact divorce can have on their financial future.
Even for people who do not plan to have legal representation during the divorce process, it is still prudent to consult with an attorney. An attorney who practices divorce law may advise them of all of their legal options and rights. If affording an attorney is an issue, there are organizations that can provide low-cost or no-cost legal services. People with low income may contact law schools that provide free, public clinics or ask the local bar association for assistance.
Being fully aware of one's own financial standing is also important. Credit reports should be reviewed to see if new and unauthorized accounts have been opened and if there are credit account changes, which may be an indication of identity theft. Up to three credit reports can be obtained from the three credit-reporting agencies free of charge once a year.
Individuals can safeguard their money by closing and closely monitoring any joint accounts they share with their spouse. The joint financial accounts may include credit cards, lines of credits and bank accounts. It is not unusual for a spouse to transfer money in individual accounts that only he or she can access, making it nearly impossible for the other spouse to get the money back. If one spouse is unable to get assistance from the other spouse to freeze or close shared accounts, it may be necessary to do so on one's own.
A divorce attorney may assist clients in making sure that they get favorable financial settlement terms. Litigation may be used to obtain portions of retirement accounts to which a client may be entitled.