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How to face your financial fears during divorce

Many marriages these days tend to be more financially equal than those of half a century ago. It is now common for both spouses to work outside the home and to have some understanding of the couple's overall financial situation.

That being said, this is certainly not the case in every home. Moreover, there are still many relationships where one spouse handles nearly all financial matters for the household. When a couple like this get a divorce, the spouse who has not been hands-on with the finances may be justifiably fearful. They may worry that they won't receive a fair share of the assets or enough to live on once the divorce is finalized.

If this situation sounds familiar, you'll be glad to know you're not alone. It is natural to have fears about your financial future during a divorce, even if you are the spouse who typically makes money decisions.

In some cases, your family law attorney can help answer your questions. If they can't, they'll likely be able to recommend a divorce financial planner with expertise in this area. Questions that spouses commonly ask include:

  • Will my share of the marital assets be fair?
  • Will I be able to afford something close to my current lifestyle? If not, how much will it need to change?
  • Even if I get a fair share of assets, will they be in a form that I can use?

An experienced family law attorney and/or financial planner can carefully examine your income and assets as well as those of your spouse. They may also be able to tell if your spouse is trying to hide or undervalue assets. When everything is inventoried, they can then try to divide up the assets in a way that is fair and reasonable to both parties.

Many of the fears we feel during divorce are fears of the unknown. Thankfully, there are professionals who understand your situation and are ready to guide you through it.

Source: CBS Money Watch, "Divorce financial planner: 3 common fears," Robert Pagliarini, Aug. 23, 2013

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