The financial consequences of an Illinois divorce can be difficult to deal with, making it even more important for spouses to consider taking more of a proactive role in the money aspects of the household during the course of a marriage. There are many steps that spouses who have been somewhat hands-off when it comes to finances can take to become more involved in that side of a marriage. This can include being aware of how much their spouse earns, including any bonuses or commissions that might be awarded, along with controlling at least some aspects of their own finances. Taking such an active role in marital finances might become even more important in the event that a divorce does occur.

Any time is a good time to get involved in the household finances, no matter how long someone has already been married. Even if one is at the beginning stages of a divorce, taking the time to become familiar with the income entering the home and the amount of debt incurred could be vital during divorce proceedings. In addition, maintaining control over one’s own money could make a difference once the divorce is finalized.

Spouses could elect to keep a secret stash of money during the marriage, but it is important to remember that this money has to be divulged in the Financial Affidavit each party is required to fill out during a divorce. If the money has not been kept in a separate account and is not protected by some type of plan or agreement, it could end up as fodder during the divorce settlement. Many women in this situation choose to use planning strategies such as placing the money in a trust or even having the spouse sign a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. Doing so could ensure that the funds in the separate account are afforded some future protection.

The benefits of keeping a secret money account may outweigh the downsides. Illinois spouses involved in a divorce who control their own money may have a security blanket once their divorce is over. No one wants to think of a future separation, but advance planning may be a very good idea. Even if the fund doesn’t remain secret during the marriage, it could still be worth it to have a protective measure in place if things go wrong.

Source: Forbes, “Pros And Cons Of Keeping A Secret Fund In Case You Divorce,” Jeff Landers, Feb. 14, 2013