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Divorce: A little financial planning now can go a long way later

No one goes into a marriage thinking about the day it might end. However, since Massachusetts is said to have one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation, it never hurts to be prepared. Divorce is not just an emotional and legal process. It’s a financial one as well, so a little bit of fact-gathering and planning now can potentially make a big difference later.

Nationally, almost 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and that percentage nearly doubles to 70 for subsequent marriages. With statistics like these, some upfront financial and legal preparation seems like the only smart choice. Familiarizing oneself with household finances is advisable, even for the spouse who does not handle the bulk of the marital money-managing.

Understanding marital assets and how they are owned — separately or jointly — often proves highly beneficial. So, too, does having a grasp of the family’s income, expenses and budgeting. If and when divorce does appear on the horizon, it can prove helpful early on to make a list of what things are important and how they may be shared; this list can go beyond belongings like furniture and assets like real estate and retirement plans to include pets and even initial ideas for child custody and visitation.

It’s wise to plan on counseling or therapy, both for the divorcing individuals and for any children, who may feel their parents’ divorce is their fault. When selecting a Massachusetts family law attorney, individuals should know that each spouse should retain separate legal counsel. While a divorcing couple may choose to procure the services of a mediator to help smooth and streamline the divorce process and minimize antagonism, each party can still be represented by an attorney throughout the process.

Source: CBS Boston, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Understanding Divorce“, Dee Lee, Aug. 28, 2017

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