People contemplating divorce are advised to safeguard their money even before they start haggling over alimony. Divorce mediators, financial planners and other specialists say they may want to consider doing the following:

Freezing joint bank accounts and opening a separate one.

Canceling joint credit cards, splitting the balance. If debts cannot quickly be paid off, consider transferring balances to other credit cards.

Obtaining a copy of credit reports and make copies of bank statements, tax returns and mortgage applications and other financial documents.

Updating wills and insurance beneficiaries.

Anticipating a change in lifestyle: assess whether a new job is needed; establish a budget for a second household; set up a rainy-day fund to cover expenses for several months.

Creating a financial team and setting up or revising estate plans.

Taking inventory of valuables like real estate, cars and jewelry. Obtain independent appraisals.

Buying life or disability insurance if dependents are involved.

Looking into selling a home before the divorce, when there are two owners, to avoid capital gains penalties.

SOURCE: New York Times