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Surviving the economic divide during divorce

Household chores during a marriage are often divided between spouses. For example, one spouse may absorb the duties of financial manager. New York couples sometimes find life easier when one spouse is responsible for paying the bills, saving receipts for tax time, wrestling with the budget or tracking investments.

The spouse with economic knowledge has an advantage if a marriage ends in divorce. The partner who bypasses the chore of finances may find it complicated or overwhelming to enter into asset talks in divorce negotiations.

The best protection against money shock during divorce starts by staying alert to the flow of shared finances while the marriage is still viable. That message is hindsight for many economically-challenged spouses already getting divorced.

It's never too late to learn about money, although mid-divorce usually isn't the time to become a financial wizard. It may be necessary to hire experts in budgeting, asset values, tax implications and investments to understand how divorce will affect your immediate and long-term finances.

A healthy start begins with an assessment of the assets, liabilities and income you have now. A monthly budget helps to calculate what is needed to maintain a suitable lifestyle, a critical point when it comes to dividing property and debts with your ex-spouse.

Not all the savings, real estate or businesses you had during marriage are clearly separate. A fair divorce settlement would include an equitable distribution of assets and liabilities. An ex-spouse must prepare for the legal shift of economic benefits and responsibility onto individual shoulders.

Financial experts can help a spouse determine personal net worth and establish a plan to cover basic needs like food, housing and transportation. Expenses for children and savings strategies are added to the list.

Using professional guidance can reduce the stress of financial change brought on by divorce. Depend upon counselors you trust to move through the process. As you reach out, expand your own knowledge about money to feel more secure about your independent financial well-being.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Why You Need To 'Speak Money' After Divorce," Honoree Corder, Sept. 4, 2012

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