A financial planner provides some sound divorce advice.
The standout takeaway point is:
“Avoid signing a blank financial statement or any other document without reviewing it with a lawyer.”
That valuable tip can only be improved by expanding upon it.
Also avoid signing a blank tax return, loan application, credit card application, promissory note, mortgage, beneficiary designation or the like, will, trust, bill of sale, assignment or transfer document, guaranty, or pretty much any other legal or financial document at your spouse’s request. Period.
If you do sign any blank legal or financial documents at your spouse’s insistence, make sure you read them first and obtain copies of them.
Both are good ideas even if the documents aren’t blank.
And have them reviewed by your lawyer, whether they are blank or fully filled out.
In the time leading up to filing for divorce, it is not at all uncommon for the more financially savvy spouse to trick or pressure the other spouse into signing all kinds of documents, ranging from transfers of assets to the other spouse, waivers of interests in assets of the other spouse, debt assumptions, consents to loan refinancing documents, waivers of support, and other documents related to property division, alimony and child support.
The signing spouse usually isn’t given an opportunity to read the documents or given copies of them.
In the end, they just know that they signed something recently – and they have that vague, chilling feeling that it probably wasn’t in their best interests.
A good deal of money and grief can probably be saved by not giving in to the more financially savvy spouse’s demands for signature (assuming, of course, that refusal does not place the less financially savvy spouse at risk of physical harm).