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How to Create an Exit Strategy Before Pulling the Divorce Trigger

By September 14, 2022Divorce

The divorce process can be long and stressful – but it doesn’t have to be. 

At Mediation Northwest our Oregon divorce mediator helps couples through divorce mediation in a way that allows both parties to get a fair deal.

However, before you decide you want to go through with divorce mediation, there are a few steps you should consider regarding your divorce exit strategy. Here’s what to keep in mind:

1. Take an inventory of your stuff

Do you know all of your and your spouse’s bank / retirement account numbers and balances? Do you know all of your and your spouse’s personal property (i.e. vehicle values, etc.)? 

Now is the time to get this information in order and get all your information in a centralized location so that divorce proceedings can run more smoothly.

2. Get a credit card in YOUR name

It is important to have a credit card solely in your name and not simply listed as an authorized user of your spouse’s card or even listed jointly on a card.

You may be facing new costs and complications in the coming months and years, and it’s important to have options for finances as you move into these next steps. It will also help you build your own credit.

Why not get one now while you can still use the household income (i.e. your spouse’s income) to qualify for the account? You are much more likely to qualify using your household income, so you might as well take advantage of that before divorce proceedings begin.

3. Have a plan in place for your finances

If you leave tomorrow, how will you pay for your life?

In addition to a new credit card in your name, what other steps do you need to take to ensure that you’ll be able to cover any costs that may be coming your way? 

Be prepared for the unexpected. You don’t know if your spouse’s attorney will advise them to remove you from your spouse’s credit cards. Be prepared that your spouse could either completely drain or partially withdraw funds from your joint accounts.

You don’t know the future expenses you may incur. By having your own credit card in your sole name and other financial plans in place, you are in control of your future.

4. Make sure you still have health insurance

When you get divorced, if you are on your spouse’s health insurance plan, you will lose access to your health insurance. No, there is no fancy language to change this scenario. Keep reading because other options exist.

In Oregon, a person whose spouse is employed by a company with less than 20 employees, qualifies to stay on their spouse’s plan for nine months through what is called mini-COBRA.. A person whose spouse is employed by an employer with 20 or more employees qualifies to stay on their spouse’s plan for up to 36 months. Of course, some exceptions apply. Keep in mind, you will still need to pay the health insurance monthly premium, these laws allow access, but do not pay for it.

If your spouse’s health insurance is not an option for you, a divorce is a “qualifying event,” which is fancy legal language that allows you to access health insurance outside of traditional timelines from either your employer, the private health insurance market, or through the Affordable Care Act.

5. Plan a time to tell your spouse when your kids aren’t present

Plan for yelling. Plan for crying. Plan for a horrible night. 

Now, plan that you don’t want your kids to be a part of that nightmare.

Set up a consultation with Mediation Northwest today

If you have questions, our team is happy to talk you through the process of divorce mediation. Our goal is to help you and your spouse get through your divorce with the least amount of drama as possible and draw up an agreement that works for both of you. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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