Persons seeking to divorce a high-powered spouse should be prepared for a legal battle and have a well-planned strategy. Controlling spouses usually care more about winning than actual assets. Good preparation can place one in a far better position when dealing with a spouse with this type of personality. A word of caution is advised for a person whose spouse is physically abusive: leave immediately, regardless of the financial situation. Once one is physically safe, financial preparations can be made.
Divorcing a bully can intensify an already stressful situation, but there are tips that can help with the process. First, one should find a way to begin saving money and create a personal source of income. Second, copies of financial documentation should be made. Most property acquired during a marriage is considered joint property, including retirement accounts. It is beneficial to know how much money is in these joint accounts as it is common for spouses in a divorce to attempt to hide or siphon money from such places. These records also help to establish the value of these assets. One should open individual accounts, including checking, savings and credit cards. Closing joint accounts or taking other measures can prevent a controlling spouse from using these accounts to create difficult situations. Lastly, it may be a good idea to take the case to court as soon as possible. Once it is before the court, the judge is in control instead of the spouse.
A divorce is by nature an emotional process, and a high-asset divorce brings with it unique legal issues. Laws governing divorce proceedings are designed to ensure equitable property divisions and minimize disputes. Understanding one’s legal rights can help ease the stress inherent to divorce proceedings.
Source: USA Today, “Protect your finances while divorcing a bully“, Elizabeth MacBride, June 23, 2013