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In divorce, protecting financial well-being is fundamental

RIF is an acronym many in Missouri may be familiar with. It stands for Reading is Fundamental. The organization got its start 50 years ago as a way to improve childhood literacy by getting books into the hands of kids. It promotes the idea that reading is "fun" on one hand, and essential to overall well-being on the other.

At the core, what this reflects is the importance of education. And considering how complicated dissolving a marriage can be, it follows that a good education about key aspects of the process is essential. This might be particularly true as regards sustaining the financial well-being of both the divorcing parties.

Divorce is nearly always emotionally challenging. As the assets and debts of the two parties get accounted and split, new tensions can surface. To minimize the potential financial pain, experts agree there are some fundamental steps to consider.

Shield your credit score

We live in a credit-driven economy. Technology that allows for auto payment of recurring bills, such as mortgage, rent, utilities and such, only reinforce the importance of maintaining a solid credit rating. Therefore, if you are considering divorce, you will serve well both yourself and your soon-to-be-ex if you do what you can to bolster your credit scores now and throughout the process. Making all required payments, and doing it on time, helps.

Inventory shared assets

Equitable distribution of property can only happen if you both have a clear view of what is on the table. Many experts suggest a thorough inventory of finances going back at least five years. The review should include tax returns and any statements on bank accounts, shared investments or retirement accounts.

Don't forget the future

Dreams of retirement are something you and your spouse shared. You will face that reality apart. If you have savings in the works, you will need to divide them. To limit tax obligations, you will want to consider what steps to take to shield the funds until they're used. If your spouse is entitled to a pension, perhaps you should get more of the retirement savings to balance things out. If insurance policies and other accounts currently list your spouse as the beneficiary, you will want to select someone new.

To avoid being left in the lurch, know the full scope of your financial situation.

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