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Every marriage is different, but so is every divorce. Speaking with a financial professional may help you unwind your joint finances, and begin to rebuild your financial independence. Here are some tips for decoupling your finances to help get you started.

Divorce can be challenging and emotionally draining regardless of how amicable a separation is. Taking the steps to divide your finances early in the process can help protect your individual credit scores and personal finances and hopefully reduce financial fallout. It does, however, require attention and planning.

Here are some tips for managing finances during divorce:

Close joint accounts

One of the first steps is to close any joint bank accounts and credit cards. Then open new individual accounts in your name only. Closing jointly-held accounts can help:

  • Reduce future financial disputes
  • Give each partner more control over their personal finances
  • Lessen the chances both parties may be held liable for any new debts on the account

Update beneficiaries

Review your estate plan and investments to update your beneficiaries. If your ex-spouse is being removed as a beneficiary of your estate, set up a time to meet with a lawyer or financial professional to appoint new beneficiaries. While reviewing your estate plan, consider also naming a health-care proxy — someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to.

Update insurance policies

Updating your insurance policies during divorce is another important — and often forgotten — step. When the marriage dissolves, your insurance coverage needs to reflect the changes in your life and protect you from gaps in your coverage.

Tackle joint financial obligations

Couples often hold a significant number of financial products together. Determining how to manage joint debts such as loans, mortgages, and credit card balances is important. One option is using assets from the sale of the marital home to pay off jointly-held debts. Another option is to divide the joint debt fairly between the parties, opening new lending products for each and transferring the respective portions to the new ones.

Review and modify retirement savings

Understanding your divorce’s impact on your financial future and retirement savings is important. Going from two incomes to one may impact your ability to set money aside for retirement. Be sure to speak with a financial professional to create a plan that reflects and balances your priorities with your current financial realities.

Bottom line

Money plays a big part in marriage. Many financial elements of a married couple’s life are intertwined. While these steps can get you started, if you feel overwhelmed it might help to speak with a financial professional who can help guide you through separating your finances as a couple and regaining your financial independence.