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Wise financial steps for Washington spouses going through divorce

Spokane couples who are ending a marriage should be prepared to take some important financial steps while the divorce is in progress and after it is final.

First, it is important to maintain certain records during and after the divorce, such as copies of financial statements for individual and joint accounts. This is particularly wise if the other spouse makes a significant purchase right before the divorce is completed. The spouse who did not make the purchase could end up responsible for part or all of the expense unless they can prove they had no involvement in it.

Second, during the divorce it's a good idea to open one's own accounts or find some other line of credit. With many marriages, the couple has joint credit cards. Sometimes, one spouse has never had any credit of his or her own. Building one's own credit history can help with renting or buying a home or new car after the divorce is final.

Third, knowing one's credit score during and after the marriage is also beneficial. A rapid drop in the credit score can be a sign that something is amiss with a joint account.

Finally, there is no substitute for experienced legal advice. Many people have made the mistake of believing that a friendly relationship with the other spouse will yield a settlement that is agreeable to both parties. That might be true, but it is still a sound decision to have an attorney who knows the ins and outs of all matters in a divorce. Being protected by a legal advocate from the start can avoid troublesome issues and provide protection if they do arise.

Source: USA Today, "4 ways to protect your finances during a divorce," Shawn Leamon, Jan. 28, 2017

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