Best Moves Before a Marriage Crisis

Maria and ArnoldOne overlooked item in the Schwarzenegger scandal is how easily his wife, Maria Shriver, was able to cut ties and move out.

Wealth and family connections can do that for a gal. But what about the rest of us?

What would you need to do to protect yourself, if a sudden crisis rocked your marriage?

Divorce lawyer Violet Woodhouse, author of Divorce & Money, gave me the following tips, for a piece originally published in the current issue of Money.

Stay on top of documents. Know where bank and investment statements are kept, and get copies of your last few
  tax returns. “You need to know all the assets and liabilities on the marital balance sheet,” says Woodhouse.
Be ready to come clean. If you faced a divorce, you’d have to disclose all your finances or risk losing your assets. Square things away now.
Make a post-divorce budget. Could you support yourself and your family if you had to leave? How much would you need to earn? How much of an emergency fund do you need?
Get credit reports. Check his, check yours, says Woodhouse. This gives you a window into his debts, planned purchases—and your own credit health, which is critical to rebuilding your life. Go to
Get yours. If your spouse’s name is the only one on the title of the house, get it amended immediately or it might not be considered a joint asset. Find DIY forms at

Put it in writing. Is it silly or cynical to “prep” for a possible divorce?

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