Monthly Archives: July 2014

Divorcing? Protect your finances, personal data

No doubt you’ve seen many warnings against sharing personal or financial information with strangers, but what about your spouse – or ex-spouse? A recent study by McAfee uncovered some unsettling results:

•Although 96 percent of adults surveyed trust their significant other with passwords, intimate photos and other personal content, only 32 percent have asked their ex to delete the information when ending the relationship.

•One in five people said they’re likely to log into their spouse’s Facebook account at least once a month.

Some 30 percent admitted they’d “cyber-stalked” their significant other’s ex on social media.

Given the high rate of divorce and how frequently marriages end acrimoniously, it’s not a big leap to think that a scorned lover could severely damage your credit and reputation. If you’re getting divorced, here are some important legal, financial and privacy considerations:

If you and your spouse are in complete agreement on how you wish to divide assets and settle debts, you may be able get by with a do-it-yourself divorce kit. It’s still wise to have a divorce attorney review the forms to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.

If your separation is more complicated but relatively amicable, you may also want to try collaborative divorce, mediation or arbitration:

Collaborative divorce. Both parties retain a lawyer and the four of you hash out an agreement outside the courtroom. You each control the final agreement instead of having to abide by a judge’s decision.

Mediation. You each have lawyers but hire a third-party mediator to work through differences on critical issues. Mediators don’t have the legal authority to impose final decisions.

Arbitration. Like mediation, except that the arbiter hands down a binding agreement by which you each must abide.

If you can’t settle out of court, be prepared to possibly pay many thousands of dollars in attorney and court fees. Ask around for referrals to lawyers who specialize in divorce.

You may also want to consult a financial planning professional for advice on how to fairly divide property, calculate child support and ensure you’re sufficiently insured, as well as explain Social Security and retirement plan implications.

To protect your credit status, close joint bank and credit card accounts and open new ones in your own name; otherwise, an economically struggling or vindictive ex-spouse could amass debt in your name and ruin your credit. If your ex retains the house or car, make sure your name is taken off the loan so you’re not responsible if they flake on payments.

Be sure all closed accounts are paid off, even if you must transfer balances to your new account and pay them off yourself. That’s because late or unmade payments by either party on a joint account – open or closed – will damage both of your credit scores.

Check your credit reports before, during and after the divorce to make sure you’re aware of all outstanding debts and to ensure that all joint accounts were properly closed. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, don’t always list the same accounts, so to be safe, order credit reports from each.

Change all passwords, PINs, and other information your ex could use to access your electronic devices and financial, email and social media accounts. Also, don’t email or post malicious or revealing information that could be damaging if presented in court.

Bottom line: Divorce can be a painful experience to live through. Don’t make it worse by not protecting your own financial interests.

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Divorce Done Amicably

When you enter into marriage the assumption is that you will stay married until death do you part.  No one goes in thinking about the day there marriage will end in divorce however it happens more often than not now a day.  If a divorce is eminent in your relationship and you are wondering how you can stay on good terms with your ex read on.  Amicable divorces are important especially when children are involved and also when it comes to mutual friends and with the division of assets and liabilities.

The first thing to remember when trying to achieve an amicable divorce is that your children should never be put in the middle of anything.  They are the most important thing that you and your spouse have in common.  They will always be something that you created and share together.  Your children will be affected by your divorce enough as is don’t add to it by making them a part of any decisions that need to be made.  Sit down and discuss a custody arrangement that works to meet both of your needs as parents remembering that your children will thrive in a situation where both parents stay equally involved in their lives.  Consistency is the key when it comes to arranging a working situation and plentiful relationship with your children.  A situation that is feasible for both partners will benefit your children.

When going through a divorce consider dividing the assets rationally and as peacefully as possible.  When you actually sit to discuss what each of you wants and don’t want you may be surprised to find that this is an easier process than you ever thought.  Your spouse may have agreed to a dog to make you and the kids happy but has no interest in keeping the pet you love so dearly.  The same can be said for tangible household items and cars.  Your spouse may have bought certain items to make you happy and therefore there is not any attachment to the object therefore making it easy to surrender.  Of course there will be items you both hold dear; think about the division of these assets in consideration with the larger picture.  This process will be a lot of give and take.  The same process can be achieved with liabilities as well.

Even if you know that the divorce is going to happen counseling can still help especially when it comes to splitting on good terms.  A counselor offers a safe environment to speak from the heart and talk about your shared experiences from your prospective.  This process can help you understand where your spouse is coming from and vise versa.

If you are planning on staying friendly with one another it is important that you hold your tongue; this is especially important in front of family and friends.  Nothing good ever comes from speaking ill of your spouse so it is best to just keep those thoughts to yourself.  When you are choosing to stay in contact and on peaceful terms with your spouse speaking negatively will not help nurture the relationship you are hoping for.  When it comes to your children really keep your negative feelings and thoughts to yourself.  When you and your ex disagree on situations regarding the children it is best to talk about those issues in private.  Your children, family and friends should not be privy to this information; issues should be kept private and dealt with in a civil manner between you and your ex only.  This will keep your divorce and relationship more peaceful overtime.

Longton DM, a subsidiary of Longton Law Offices is a divorce attorney specializing in Women/Mom’s in divorce throughout Trenton and the surrounding Michigan areas. Find us at