It may be typical of Hernando County marriages to have one spouse handle all the finances; traditionally, it has been the husband’s role. Unfortunately, this puts wives at a disadvantage should yours be among the 50 percent of all U.S. marriages that don’t survive. In marriage and divorce, it is crucial for women to take an active role in the household finances.

According to Forbes, women should maintain separate accounts for banking throughout their marriages and have at least one credit card in their name as well. If you should ever begin thinking about or planning for divorce, you will need access to funds for legal costs and other expenses, and establishing credit is easier when there are two paychecks in the home. If divorce comes as a surprise, you should begin putting money into a separate account immediately so you will have resources for your needs.

Along with ready cash, you should have more than a passing acquaintance with marital property you own together and separately if any. This includes life insurance policies, stock options, investments, banking accounts, pensions, retirement savings and retirement investments. Some items you may not normally consider to be an asset include:

  • Accrued vacation time, which can many times be “cashed out.”
  • Deferred compensation; in case your spouse has asked the company to defer bonuses
  • Country club memberships and season tickets to sports or entertainment events

Along with understanding what can be considered an asset, you should also have copies of account statements and legal records of titles and deeds. Include trusts and wills, titles to real estate and automobiles and insurance inventories you may have made for protecting art collections, jewelry, collectibles and other valuables. Keep copies of any debts as well.

Divorce is never easy and one thing almost guaranteed to make it more difficult is dividing assets. Having a good knowledge of the finances in your marriage can help you protect your interests.

Although this article discusses financial aspects of divorce, it should not be considered legal advice.