6 Smart Things to Do Before the Money Disappears

stack of money next to divorce decree

Where did the money go?

1.  Get several credit cards in your name only.  It’s a smart move to be pro-active and apply for several credit cards in your name only BEFORE you even think you might need these financial safety vests that can keep you afloat in a storm.

Many women are caught off guard financially when they discover that their husbands have liquidated, moved or cancelled their access to money or credit without prior notice.

In my state of Ohio, I was shocked  at both being served by surprise with divorce papers and then finding out that my husband’s attorney had included a financial restraining order in them which prevented me from using ANY of our joint credit cards to hire a divorce attorney to represent my interests.

By planning ahead, you will feel more confident that you will have the financial means to pay for legal advice, get the emotional support that you can benefit from and be prepared as you wait on the tediously slow pace of the legal system to address the financial aspects of your separation.

2.  Make copies of all financial related paperwork and at least 3 years of tax returns and store these safely away from where you are living with a trusted friend or relative. Be sure to include paycheck stubs, bank and credit card statements, investment and retirement records, all loans and titles for cars and homes, wills, records for all assets and property you own as well as records for any debts.

3.  Open accounts for yourself at a new bank.  Don’t go to the same one that both of you have been going to for years. Find a new bank and open a new checking and savings account in your name only. Be sure to set aside some financial reserves that you can rely on just in case your husband decides to pressure you or cut off your access to financial resources later on.

 4.  Change your PIN numbers and get a new email address.  Yes, I know it’s a hassle, but confidentiality is critical if you are in an unhappy marriage.  Don’t wait until your husband confronts you with information he’s discovered about your new bank accounts, credit cards or consultation with a divorce attorney. By changing your financial account log in codes ahead of time and receiving your emails at your new email address, you can start taking charge of your financial future and worry less at night.

 5.   Secure your phone, computer and mailbox.  Never underestimate the definite possibility that your husband could be putting spyware on your phone or computer to track where you are and what you are doing.  As a Divorce Strategist, I have found that this is much more common than many women realize.  It is well worth it to get your devices checked out by a computer expert and consider keeping them with you at all times or locked away securely. Another option is to use several pay-as-you go phones.

When creating a new email account, be sure to keep the log in details away from your home and only send and review emails from a secure location such as the library.

What about your mailbox?   If you want your mail to be for your eyes only, consider temporarily changing your mailing address at the post office or renting a post office box.

 6.  Print out a copy of your credit report and save it in a secure location.  I highly recommend getting a copy of your credit report and carefully reviewing it even if you’re not sure if you truly want a divorce.  Your credit report contains a blueprint of financial information that you can use both now and later on.

 Many women are stunned to find out way into the divorce process that their husbands have been irresponsibly charged up large amounts on credit cards, bought or rented a new house without their knowledge or spent marital assets on gifts and getaways with their secret love interests.

A wise woman makes sure to get a credit report in hand early on and monitors it on an ongoing basis to prevent being surprised later on that she is now being held responsible by the banks for his chronic mismanagement of debt during separation and divorce.

And following divorce, having a solid credit rating is quite valuable when applying for a new job, getting a more reasonable rate on insurance and finding a new place to live.






Please let me know your thoughts in the Comments Section below.


  1. Sensitive subject matter but the reality is that these things need to be dealt with and handled. I have a dear friend that is going through this and this is just the tip of the iceberg with what she’s dealing with.

  2. This is indeed the tip of the iceberg, but an excellent start. (These matters cannot be discussed enough, in my opinion. We well so much in the emotional, we sometimes forget the critical nature of the pragmatic – specifically the financial.)

  3. Absolutely crucial information for any woman who is in the unfortunate position to need it. Great post!

  4. This is a terrific list, Nancy. Excellent advice for people just starting the divorce process!

  5. Divorce is all about the money — and this advice is an excellent start.

    Secure location should not be under your bed or anywhere where your soon-to-be ex has access.

    Opening bank accounts/securing a safety deposit box in a different state — if that’s at all feasible — is an added layer of protection.

    I would add as an immediate first step: get a post office box.

  6. dragonet2 says:

    A work friend was being cheated on by her husband (a fairly high-up telecom executive). He had been spending money buying property, etc. and was, on paper, writing plans to ditch her and their sons with no home, no money, no etc. This was way before computers were every-day, for example the computers we used at that workplace needed a program 5 1/2″ floppy and a save 5 1/2″ flopppy.

    His secretary found his files while he was out of town for work, and COPIED EVERY DAMN THING for my friend. Included all credit information, property, deeds, titles, etc. etc. etc.

    Needless to say he and his mistress did not have free rein to go to the Rivera. He deserved it, every bit of it.