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Mowery Youell & Galeano, LTD. Attorneys at Law
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When a spouse wants to fight, keep an eye on financial interests

Making it "to the top" in the business world is not always an easy feat. More often than not it requires a strong personality, competitive nature and a talented mind. These characteristics are not always just for the workplace but display in personal situations as well -- like divorce. Some divorce cases are contentious, and in some cases these strong personalities make it so.

For someone considering divorcing a spouse that may be very competitive or driven by success, the individual might want to consider making some proactive choices that could help protect their financial interests. Truth is that there are some spouses with the "do anything" attitude.

So what can a less dominant spouse do? The first is to make sure that these individuals have access to their own cash. They can do things like open their own bank account, credit card and even retirement account. These assets will most likely still fall under the category of "marital" when it comes to property division, but sole access is the key -- whether it is to the funds in the bank account or being in control of every charge that lands on the credit card.

On this same line of thought is closing joint accounts. There are some cases where a controlling spouse will use a bank account or other joint asset to get at the other spouse. Even if not causing financial harm, at times it is simply the attitude of creating confusion and more stress.

Next, try to get copies of every single document that could relate to assets and liabilities. There is a duty to disclose all assets during divorce, but there are some spouses who won't hold to that promise. Having a record of every possible asset is key. Where possible, keep these records up-to-date with the latest account balances and other information.

Of course, if a spouse fears that their spouse may be a real danger to spouse or children, the first and foremost concern should be safety. Cases involving any kind of abuse are often handled under different rules and consulting an attorney is especially vital in these situations before taking any individual action.

Source: USA Today, "Protect your finances while divorcing a bully," Elizabeth MacBride, June 23, 2013

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