Centuori & Associates, PC

For many Arizona spouses, the end of a marriage may be the first time that an individual has taken control over their own finances. Women in particular suffer from a lack of financial savvy, as many wives allow their husbands to assume control over the family's finances. Once divorce is on the table, spouses who have not played an active role in their own financial health must take steps to learn financial management skills.

A good place to begin is by assessing all shared insurance policies. Once a couple starts the divorce process, each party will usually begin paying for his or her own expenses, especially if one spouse moves into another residence. It is important to be proactive in dividing shared accounts, even before the property division negotiations begin. Because both spouses will be expected to pay for their own insurance needs, this is a great place to start working toward autonomy.

Many couples share health, auto and home insurance. Begin by collecting the policy information on those accounts, and then prepare to shop for new coverage. In some cases, the existing insurance provider will be able to give a discounted rate for couples who are looking to cancel their current coverage and open separate policies. In other cases, a spouse who is ready to set up his or her own accounts can find better rates by choosing the same insurance provider to cover all of their new policies.

There can be a silver lining in regard to searching for new insurance. For example, if one spouse has a driving record that has led to higher insurance rates, buying coverage as a single person could lead to lower costs. The same may apply to health insurance, especially if coverage is provided through an employer.

Making changes to health and auto insurance coverage is one way to get a head start on moving forward as a single person. Doing so can also give spouses an idea of what their budget will be following the conclusion of their divorce. For those in Arizona who have children on their health insurance policies, or who have life insurance, it is important to discuss the matter with an attorney prior to making changes.   

Source: The Huffington Post, "What to Do When Divorce or Widowhood Puts You in Financial Control for the First Time", Michael Most, Sept. 23, 2015

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