Finalizing an actual marital separation agreement must come before anything else. Otherwise, you’ll violate the law by splitting your assets before anything gets completed by the court.
That’s doesn’t mean you should sit back and let things take their course. Preparing for when that marital separation agreement becomes final can make a big difference. Get your own separate property estate set up by identifying whom you’ll name as your beneficiaries on retirement accounts, life insurance policies and such — many individuals who recently divorce often miss this critical issue. Also, identify the clear path to where you will funnel other assets after the separation agreement and whom you’ll declare as beneficiaries of those accounts. Ensuring little to no lag time in between a separation agreement and when the divorce gets finalized will help prevent your ex-spouse of obtaining any assets afterward that you didn’t intend to give.