No matter how you slice it, divorce is difficult for everyone involved. But if you are the wife in a marriage where your husband is the breadwinner and/or controls the family finances, the situation could get especially sticky.
Forbes online recommends that you should take especial care in getting your financial house in order as you prepare for an independent life: “it’s critical that you immediately gather all your financial records, including bank account information, mortgage statements, credit card bills, wills [and] trusts.” You should also go over your will and/or any medical directives you have to make sure that you prevent your husband “from making medical decisions on your behalf or inheriting all your assets should you die before the divorce agreement is signed.”
Once you’ve stored all important documents in a secure place that only you can access, next thing to do is get a copy of your credit report and keep a close eye on it. That way, “you’ll know if your husband is charging gifts for [a] girlfriend under joint credit cards, or if he’s dissipating marital assets in some way. Plus, you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your all-important credit score.”
The next thing to do is open new accounts in your name: make sure that you don’t use the same bank for you and your husband may have joint accounts. “Go to a different bank, and open a new checking and savings account in your name.” If you don’t already have a credit card in your name, Forbes suggests you get one.
Once your accounts are open, the website suggests that you “begin securing funds for legal and other professional fees.” This may be one of the most difficult of your tasks: Forbes states that “if your husband controls all access to the family funds, he can make it difficult (if not impossible) for you to have the resources necessary to hire a divorce team you need.”
Finally, since you will very likely be receiving legal and financial mail that you will want to keep confidential, you will want to open a post office box. That way, you’ll know “that your mail is being delivered to a secure, locked box” and have that much less to worry about during a time of upheaval and change.