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My plan to separate is imminent, what do I do about my bank accounts and automatic draft of my paycheck?

When separation is imminent, you need a secure place to put funds to live on that cannot be accessed by the other spouse. Open a separate bank account, stop your direct deposits from going into your joint account and close joint accounts. If your paycheck is directly deposited, you will want to change it so you get a hard check to deposit prior to your separation. If your spouse is the bookkeeper of the family, they may notice this change, so it needs to occur as close to the separation as possible to prevent a problem being tipped off to your spouse. You will want to fund your separate account as soon as possible simultaneous with or very soon after the separation. The risk with joint accounts is that your spouse can wipe out all joint accounts with one keystroke now with internet banking. You should also consider canceling or freezing joint debt related accounts, such as credit cards, lines or credit or equity lines, to prevent your spouse from withdrawing funds or taking cash advances that could result in high interest costs, which you may ultimately become responsible for paying. It is important that, as soon as possible, you sit down and make a list of your debts, your expenses, your income and your assets. It is important to determine your net worth so you know what an equitable division of the marital estate will be, and what income you will need to support yourself in the future. In addition, you need to prepare a post-separation budget and set realistic financial goals. Now operating two households on that same amount of income that once funded one household can cause a great deal of financial strain. It may be a good idea to meet with a financial planner to get professional advice as to the best way to manage your money to ensure financial security in the future. You also need to review your credit report to determine the status of your credit and identify any debts you owe that either you were not aware of or were fraudulently incurred.

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