Divorce has a well-known reputation for wringing money out of the parties. Two can often live cheaper than one and having to create two new lives is not cheap. You can have some control over how much financial chaos your divorce brings if you note the below issues and take action to protect and secure some financial well-being. Read on to find out more.
You May Need and Deserve Alimony
Alimony (or spousal support) is far from passe. If a spouse shows a need, then stepping forward and asking for it may be prudent. Some potential candidates for alimony include:
- Spouses who stayed home to care for the children of the marriage and never went to or completed college.
- Spouses who stayed with the children and was never able to get their careers off the ground as a result.
- Spouses who are older and not trained to work.
- Sick, disabled, or mentally incapacitated spouses.
If you fear you cannot work and earn enough income to support yourself in a way that is similar to what you experienced during your marriage, you may be awarded temporary, rehabilitative, or permanent alimony.
The Marital Property Split
Most states follow equitable distribution rules but a few are community property states. No matter what type of state you live in, though, marital property is subject to be divided. Equitable distribution bases asset splits on who bought it and paid for it. Community property states do a down-the-middle split 50/50. It's in your best interest to identify marital property and fight for the assets that are rightfully yours. Even if you don't really want that run-down investment property, for example, you might one day be glad you have it.
Child Support for the Offspring
If you are about to gain full physical custody of any minor-aged children, your spouse is likely going to be ordered to pay child support. Child support amounts are based on the income of the parents. To be on the safe side and to protect you and your child's financial interests, insist on full disclosure of all your spouse's financial dealings during the divorce.
It's never too early to plan for retirement and a divorce offers parties a unique opportunity to remove retirement funds from an account without incurring penalties. Qualified 401(K) accounts may be considered marital property along with the family silver and the dog. The means to carry out the distribution out is a form called the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and it may allow one spouse with the means to fund their own retirement account. This needs to be done before the divorce is final so speak to your divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
For more information, contact a local divorce attorney.