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Steps to take for financial protection during divorce

People in Washington who are getting a divorce will want to make sure they protect their finances. A first step may be to close joint accounts and open personal accounts. Some people might want to use the personal account to save up for expenses such as attorney fees before filing. Spouses should be aware of the existence of the account so that it does not appear as though it is being used to conceal assets.

Some spouses might not have worked outside the home and may be unfamiliar with the marital finances. This is the time to become familiar with them as well as other valuables including retirement accounts. If possible, people should take a look at their own and their spouse's credit reports to make sure both are aware of all accounts. They may also want to start a job training program.

People should document all assets whether with photographs of physical objects or paperwork about investments. If the split is likely to be acrimonious, people might want to protect their valuables. They might also want to get a post office box to keep correspondence and other information private. Finally, running up any debt should be avoided.

Divorce is sometimes a difficult process, and having to negotiate property and child custody issues during emotional turmoil can be challenging. However, people are often more satisfied with outcomes that they manage to negotiate with a spouse instead of turning to litigation. Mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes may help a couple reach a solution that suits both of them rather than walking into the adversarial atmosphere of a courtroom. One thing people should keep in mind is that Washington is a community property state. This means that most assets acquired by either spouse since the marriage, including income and a retirement account, may be considered the property of both spouses.

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