Thinking of a Divorce? Make Sure You Can Access Cash!

You can’t predict how your spouse will react when you announce that you want a divorce. If your spouse is in charge of your family’s finances or has access to joint accounts, you could find yourself suddenly cut off from your money! Do not put yourself in a position where you will need to rely on your spurned spouse for money or where your spouse could use the threat of turning off the money tap as a negotiation tactic.

Empower yourself by making sure you have access to money before your divorce that you can use to:

  • Move out if needed
  • Support yourself during the divorce
  • Hire a divorce attorney
  • Pay divorce-related court costs

How to Build Up Your Cash Reserves

The easiest way to build up your cash reserves is to open up a checking or savings account in your name and begin depositing as much of your income into it as you can before you file your divorce paperwork. Don’t forgo paying the important bills, like your mortgage or student loans. The last thing you want is to deal with collection agencies during your divorce!

Do not poach money out of shared bank accounts. You’ll eventually need to close these accounts and divide the funds according to your divorce settlement. If you empty the accounts before the divorce, your spouse may accuse you of trying to steal money. (Learn how to close down joint accounts during a divorce.)

Open Your Own Credit Card

Now is also a good time to apply for a credit card in your own name if you don’t already have one. You’ll want to close shared credit cards when you start the divorce proceedings, and you don’t want to find yourself without any financial cushion if you should face a sudden expense, like a car repair. Using credit cards in your own name is also a good way to begin building up your individual credit. is a great resource for comparing different credit card offers.

Borrow Money

Expenses can mount quickly during a divorce. Rather than put all these expenses on your credit card where you can face high interest rates, consider borrowing the money from a different source.

Many banks offer personal loans that don’t need to be earmarked for a specific expense. If you can, apply at your local credit union where interest rates will be lowest. You may also consider taking a loan from your 401(k).

Some employers allow their employees to take out a hardship loan of up to 50% of their 401(k) balance to be paid back over a period of time (usually five years). Interest rates on this type of loan will vary. As a last resort, you can take a withdrawal from your 401(k) plan or IRA. You do not have to pay back this withdrawal, but you will pay income tax on the amount you take out along with a 10% withdrawal penalty if you are younger than 59 and a half years of age.

A final option is to seek a loan from your parents, a sibling, or other family members if they are able. It may be difficult to ask for help, but that’s what family is for. Even if they can’t necessarily loan you money, perhaps your family can offer you a free roof over your head for a couple of months to help lower your expenses.

Be Ready

Building up some cash reserves gives you the freedom to pursue your divorce without facing crippling money worries. More freedom means you have the time, focus, and ability to seek a settlement that is more favorable to you. If you suspect that your spouse may be thinking of a divorce, you can follow these same tips so you aren’t blindsided.

One of the best ways to prepare for a divorce is to attend a local Second Saturday Divorce Workshop where you can hear from divorce experts and receive advice on your specific situation. Look for a divorce workshop in your area today. We also encourage you to read through our informative Divorce Article Archives for women.

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7 thoughts on “Thinking of a Divorce? Make Sure You Can Access Cash!”

  1. If you set aside cash reserves in a checking or savings account in your name during the marriage, will that money still be yours in the divorce or will it have to become shared assets?

  2. I am considering divorce but am not there yet. I am disabled with 3 rare diseases and I don’t work. I receive SSDI though. I had to kick my husband out of shared house because he was a raging drunk & beat me one night. He was arrested but for some reason dropped the charges even thought I had a blackeye. He has a total of 2 domestic but never convicted. He went into work drunk so I had no choice. He says he is sober now but I want him to go to some type of treatment.I have to protect myseld. He thinks the beating was not a big deal because he was blacked out doing it so he can’t recall it all. Yes I have pictures after. He makes $100,000 give or take. I have always done all the accounting including paying off all our bills so we only owe on the house and because of me he starting putting $ in his retirement for the first time. We have been married 8 yrs and now he opened his open bank account and we have a shared account that we have had for 7 yrs. Now he is accusing me of stealing his money. I don’t know what to do now. I am trying to find a lawyer now. It was my account that I put him on in the first place.
    I have no family and was disabled when we got together but now I have 3 diseases included. I am on the title but not the mortgage. He now wants to do all the bills even though he had a problem paying them before so everything was getting shut off. Does he have to financially care for me still even though we are not divorced? I need to hire help for snow plowing , house cleaner and a handy man because I am unable to do so myself bc I am disabled. He is a procrastinator. Can I hire them ? I can’t afford to on my SSDI pay. What steps should I follow? I can’t financially support myself if we are divorced so will I be able to get alimony or healthcare insurance. I do have Medicare bc my SSDI. I have been researching and will continue . I plan on hiring a lawyer tomorrow. I have a roth IRA and almost emptied it because if we were short or wanted something we would agree to take it from mine because Dave refused to touch his. He had to take a loan eventually because he was off a month from coming in drunk. So I forced him to pay me back it which he did kicking and screaming. I do have a money market I had to put it in because I can only repay myself back 6 grand a year with my Roth IRA. Now he calls it my secret account and can see me transferring my paycheck into it. Help
    I am a hot mess & being disabled makes everything so much harder. Thank you

    1. It is likely that under your state law he has a duty to support you. If you need support from him and he can afford to pay it, then you will need to file a petition for support.That means you’ll need to file for divorce or separation, unless there’s some other filing you can do in your state. You’ll need to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws.

  3. Pingback: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Divorce - Second Saturday Divorce Workshops

  4. My soon to be ex-husband wanted a divorce because he found “someone else”. I filed for divorce before he did on the advice of an attorney, and I had to pay only a small portion of his normal retainer…However, my ex did not show up for work the day they wanted to serve him the div papers, so his boss called and warned him. While I was at doc appts, he went to the bank and canceled my debit cards and moved $ to new account. My attorney said to go take out the rest of the $ in he bank before he closed it, but I took only some of it because I knew he paid the mortgage and I did not want the check to bounce. Once it cleared the bank, the accounts closed and I have zero $. I wanted to get an ex parte because I have a son to drive around to appts and school and I can’t get money from him. He’s manipulating me and controlling me w the $. I had a little $ saved, but went through that quickly. I wish I wouldve taken all the $ per my attny but I’m too nice….wish I wouldve read this article first…things do happen very quickly so ladies, heed this advice. Now my attorney wants another $5k to finish my case and I have no idea what to do except take $ from IRA or credit cards. Oh, and I am a stay at home mom whose being told daily by ex to “get a job”

    1. Dont get a job till the decree is done. If u get a job sooner it will look like you need less alimony from him – just keep asking your lawyer for a payment plan and keep telling the judge you want full alimoney.

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