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Prior to property division, avoid significant financial moves

Preparing to file for divorce can be a stressful time in the life of a Florida spouse. There are a number of important decisions that must be made and a number of missteps to avoid. One of the most important things that spouses can do to prepare for a successful property division process is to avoid making any significant financial moves in the months leading up to the divorce process.

For many spouses, the urge to get started restructuring their lives is strong, especially at the onset of a divorce. Even so, it is important to avoid making major alterations to one's finances at this time. Those changes can be interpreted as attempts to divert marital funds from the property division process, which can cause a number of problems if the divorce ends up going before a court of law.

Tamp down the urge to make changes to retirement accounts, wills, account beneficiaries and other financial accounts during the early stages of divorce. Don't pay down credit accounts without the express and written permission of the other spouse. Refrain from making sizable purchases, and do not extend loans to friends and family members, or make new investments. In short, put a freeze on all significant financial decisions.

Refraining from financial alterations will make it easier for both attorneys to move forward with property division negotiations, without the added pressure of searching for evidence of dissipation of marital wealth. In the long run, that can mean lower legal fees, which leaves more money in play for both spouses to divide. That is an outcome that all parties should be able to prioritize and can be an area of collaboration between even the most bitter Florida spouses.

Source: USA TODAY, "7 ways to ready your finances for divorce", Elizabeth Renter, May 31, 2017

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