Facing Divorce? Financial Questions You Need to Consider

This is not a fun topic, but we’re here to help you through the hard times too

Divorce, while a challenging emotional decision, also comes with significant financial implications. Before you embark on this process, it’s essential to be equipped with the right questions.

Let’s delve into the financial facets of divorce that you need to ponder.

1. What are Our Current Assets and Liabilities?

Begin with an overview. Make a list of:

  • Real estate properties
  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Investments like stocks and bonds
  • Retirement funds (401(k)s, IRAs)
  • Cars, jewelry, and other valuable possessions
  • Outstanding loans and credit card debts

2. How Will We Divide Shared Assets and Debts?

Typically, states either follow community property rules (assets and debts accrued during marriage are equally split) or equitable distribution (assets and debts divided based on fairness). It’s crucial to know which applies in your state.

3. What About Our Home?

The family home often has both sentimental and financial value. Consider these questions:

  • Will one of you buy out the other’s share?
  • Will you sell the home and split the profits?
  • If you keep the home, can you afford the mortgage, maintenance, taxes, and other costs on your own?

4. How Will Retirement Funds Be Handled?

Diving into retirement funds can be complex. Consider:

  • The potential tax implications of dividing these assets.
  • How different types of retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k) vs. IRA) might be split.

5. What Will Happen to Health Insurance Coverage?

If you’re on your spouse’s insurance plan, you’ll need to look into getting a new policy, unless you can continue the coverage through programs like COBRA.

6. How Will Child Support and Alimony be Managed?

If you have children:

  • Who will be the primary caregiver?
  • How will child support be determined and for how long?
  • Will alimony (spousal support) be part of the agreement?

7. What’s the Cost of Getting Divorced?

Yes, there’s a price to uncoupling. This includes attorney fees, court fees, and costs related to financial consultants or therapists.

8. Will We Maintain Joint Accounts for Shared Responsibilities?

Some couples opt to maintain a joint account for shared responsibilities like children’s education or mutual debts. Discuss if this is a route you want to take.

9. How Will Our Taxes Change?

Your tax situation will shift after a divorce. Consider:

  • Filing status changes (from Married Filing Jointly to Single or Head of Household).
  • Who gets to claim dependents and associated tax credits?

10. How Will We Handle Future College Expenses for Children?

If you have kids, discuss how you’ll manage future tuition and related expenses.

11. Do I Have an Emergency Fund?

Now’s the time to think about setting aside funds for unforeseen expenses. With one income, having a safety net becomes even more vital.

Closing Thoughts

Divorce isn’t merely about ending a chapter but also about starting a new one. It’s a step toward a future that’s best for both parties, even if it seems daunting now. Financial preparedness can ease the transition.

Before making decisions, it might be helpful to consult with a financial advisor, attorney, or therapist. They can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation.

We at The Finance Genie are here to support you on your journey, offering the tools and insights you need. Remember, while the heart steers our choices, a little wisdom from the head can pave the path forward.

NEXT: The Basics of Building a Budget

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