Can I Afford to Get Divorced?
The decision to get divorced cannot be made based on feelings alone. A marriage is a partnership. If it is to be dissolved, the assets of the partnership, the cost of the partners living independently, and other financial considerations must be taken into account. When they are, the decision to get divorced may not be averted by at least the realities of its effects will be known.
1. Allocation of Marital Assets
The first financial impact will be an allocation of the marital assets. There are many factors which go into a court’s decision on allocating the assets, but they are not all ironclad. Generally, it is in the parties’ best interests to decide between themselves the best distribution. When the parties decide the allocation, other financial considerations may come into play to “even things out” such as give and take on alimony or child support. Most often personal property is divided between the spouses with them sharing equally those items acquired during the marriage and each retaining those items which they brought to the marriage, with the exception being family heirlooms, photographs, inherited sentimental items, and the like. Financial assets are likewise subject to being divided, including, depending on the length of the marriage and when they were generated, individual retirement accounts and pensions. 2. Change in Living Standards
Basic economics would tell us that two people cannot easily live independently any cheaper than they could live together at the same standard of living. So, who is going to bear the brunt of a change in living standards? If both parties, to what degree? If parties are going to maintain the same standard of living, then some assets may have to be converted or invested in that lifestyle.
3. Financial Support of Children If children are involved, the financial calculations become even more complicated. The law does its best to see the children are maintained with as little impact as possible, at least financially. Both parents will bear responsibility. In order to make this financial support of children as fair as possible, guidelines have been established. Once the children’s required monthly support is determined, the earning potential of each parent is taken into account, so that they share the burden. A factor in the calculation is how custody of the children will be handled. There are other financial considerations for the children as well, some of which are included in the child support calculations and some of which are not, such as extracurricular activities, sports, braces, health insurance coverage, private lessons, tutoring, college prep, college or other post-graduate studies or training. 4. Alimony or Spousal Support
Alimony may also play a part in the financial considerations of a divorce. Alimony can be in the form of rehabilitative alimony for a set period of time, or it can last indefinitely until certain future conditions are met or occur. Alimony depends on many factors such as the length of the marriage, any “fault,” the relative earning capacity of the spouses and their work history pre-divorce, just to name a few. These financial considerations vary greatly from case to case, as the facts of each marriage and thus each divorce is different. An experienced divorce attorney can help you make an informed decision. Contact us today.