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Protecting financial privacy during divorce

Divorcing couples are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of changes that take place during the transition from married life to single life. Because of these changes, many may let some important things like privacy fall through the cracks. Safeguarding private information is key in gaining independence.

The following are tips for how you can protect your financial privacy during and after divorce:

Creating separate bank accounts: An important first step toward independence is to open and maintain separate bank accounts. Keeping financial information and purchases away from the scrutinizing eye of a spouse can help discussions remain civilized.

Changing online passwords: Another good idea is to change all the passwords for online accounts, including social media sites, banking, investment and any online shopping accounts. Do not forget the accounts that are not accessed as often. Many times, spouses know each other's passwords. This can be convenient during the marriage, but it can also tempt spouses into checking up on each other during divorce negotiations.

Obtaining your own credit cards: As a single person, it is important to begin establishing personal credit. Apply for personal credit cards. This will be important in ensuring that a spouse cannot cancel a card or pry into spending habits.

Editing purchasing accounts: Some couples forget to edit automatic purchasing accounts that store credit card information. These one-click accounts are an easy way to access and purchase items on a spouse's account if the information is not changed.

Opening a safe deposit box and having mail forwarded to a post office box can also be good tools for keeping information private.

It is not important to perfectly distinguish between each other's assets - just work towards separating important financial and personal information. That way, in a difficult discussion with a spouse, personal information regarding a purchase or trip is not used as leverage to gain assets in the divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce: Keeping Your New Life Private," Brendan Lyle, June 1, 2012

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