How to protect your finances during a breakup

Safeguarding your finances can help make a hard breakup a little less stressful and complicated. Check out our expert tips and find out how you can protect your finances during a breakup.

By Krystal Yee

How to protect your finances during a breakup
©iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs
Nobody wants to think about their relationship or marriage ending. It's emotional and painful, and the last thing you want to think about is your bank account.

But leaving financial issues unresolved can be a costly mistake, and you might not truly realize the impact until several years down the road.

Here are four tips to help you protect your money in the unfortunate event of a breakup:

1. Pull your credit report
Your credit report will identify every account that is open in your name, as well as joint accounts you opened with your partner. This will give you a good starting point, and you can begin to decide which accounts to keep open, and which to close.

It would be worthwhile to pull your credit report a few months after the breakup as well. If there are errors on your report, or it shows that certain accounts were not closed, you will be able to deal with them immediately.

2. Make a list of joint assets and liabilities
Take a few days to gather and make copies of your bank account and investment statements. Make sure to include past tax returns, credit card statements, insurance and extended health policies, as well as mortgage statements or rental agreements.

If you have joint savings accounts, talk to your partner about how you plan on splitting the money. Then, close the accounts as soon as possible. If you don't already have one, open up a new account in your own name.

If both your names are on the mortgage, car loan, line of credit, or credit cards, then you are both responsible for that debt, and you will need to figure out a fair way to split it up. If the debt is only under your name, legally, you are responsible for it.

Remember that interest charges can add up fast, so make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to paying your bills on a regular basis until all the finances have been separated.

Page 1 of 2 -- Do you have easy access to a savings account? If not, find out what you should do in case you're in need of a little emergency money on page 2.

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