Many Maryland residents wait until after a divorce is finalized to begin protecting themselves financially. While this may be fine for couples who are going through an amicable split, it may be more problematic for those whose divorce seems more contentious. The good news is that it’s never too early for individuals considering divorce to start taking steps to protect themselves financially. Some may even want to think about taking these steps during the legal separation process.

One easy step is to start researching options for health insurance after a divorce, in the event that one spouse will lose coverage on another spouse’s work-related plan. Some may be able to qualify for — and afford — COBRA coverage. This can be pricey, however, so for others it may not be an option. Spouses who haven’t been working and are seriously considering filing for divorce may choose to look for employment with health benefits now in order to avoid a lapse in health insurance later.

Other individuals may look into establishing credit in their own name so they can have an easier time once their names are removed from joint accounts. For those who only have shared bank accounts, it may be a good idea to establish a separate account that the other spouse can’t access. Keep in mind that these things will need to be accurately disclosed if the separation does turn into an outright divorce filing. To that end, some Maryland residents may find it wise to seek out advice from a financial planner as they begin thinking about converting a legal separation into a divorce.

Divorce can be emotionally draining, but for some it can also be financially taxing. Those who have filed for a legal separation may wish to take some steps now to set themselves up for greater economic success later. Doing so may give them a greater peace of mind as they work on saving their marriages that they will be prepared in case that just doesn’t prove possible.

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Finance: How To Get Your Finances In Order Post-Split,” Jeff Landers, May 18, 2013