Has a primary issue of contention in your marriage been finances? If you and your spouse often fight about money, you’re definitely not alone in your struggle. Many spouses in California and throughout the country can no doubt relate to your experience. If you wind up filing for divorce, your financial disagreements might follow you into the courtroom.
It’s important to be as informed and well prepared as possible to negotiate or litigate a fair settlement. When doing so, there are several common mistakes, especially for people age 50 and beyond, that you’ll want to avoid.
Don’t go to court without knowing the state of your own finances
Some married couples share all financial responsibilities equally. In other households, one spouse takes care of the money while the other focuses on other issues. This may have been the case in your own marriage, either by choice or because your spouse was a control freak who tried to keep you in the dark about financial matters.
If that’s so, you’ll want to make sure you update yourself on your financial status. Before going to court, it’s a good idea to compile a list of your assets and liabilities. How much money do you have in the bank? What’s the balance on your credit card? In order to protect your interests during property division proceedings, it’s imperative that you’re able to answer such questions.
It’s not always a good idea to keep the house
If you have young children who have never lived anywhere except the house you and your ex shared during marriage, it’s understandable that you might want to stay there with your kids after your divorce. It’s best to crunch numbers on paper first, however, to see if staying in your current home would wind up causing you severe financial distress.
Don’t forget taxes, retirement benefits and health insurance
Divorce sparks a series of changes in life. It also has implications regarding your future tax returns and retirement programs, such as 401(k), and other important issues, such as car insurance and health insurance. If you’re not well versed on such issues, it may be difficult to know whether you’re getting a fair settlement.
Such issues may also influence your decisions as to whether you should request child support or alimony. The court always has children’s best interests in mind when making custody decisions. It’s important, however, for you to know ahead of time an estimated amount of money you’ll need to make ends meet and provide for your children as you move on in life after divorce.