My husband has filed for divorce and I need to know, if I filed for legal separation, can I invest in retirement/investments for myself after the legal separation is established? I have financially taken care of him for our entire married life and given my retirement up to get him out of financial hardship of his own doing. I need to protect myself and I do not know if Legal separation is the right direction to go?
The filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) creates a legal separation. Property or debt acquired after the date of separation is generally excluded from the marital estate. However, if you are simply converting funds acquired during the marriage into a different form, say from a savings account into an IRA, then those may not be excluded from the marital estate.
You need to talk to a local attorney. If your husband has already filed for divorce then you cannot file for a legal separation. The law considers you separated as of the date of filing. In most cases the date of filing will be used for valuation purposes, however, there are circumstances where the court will look at a later date. The court can use a valuation date up through the date of dissolution (finalization of divorce). If you are using current earnings to make investments you may be able to protect them from the "marital pot", but you are going to have to keep them tracked and accounted for. You do not want to put current earnings into pre-filing accounts.
REMEMBER, my answer to your question is for general informational purposes only, as I do not know all the facts and circumstances relating to the specific person(s) and situations involved. You should always consult with a local attorney prior to making any legal decision. This response does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney/client relationship.
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