The New Year brings with it the potential for change. Many who have been suffering in marriages that are miserable, loveless or simply unfulfilling seize the opportunity to write a new chapter.
That’s why January has a reputation for being “divorce month.”
But as heartbreaking – or freeing – as the process may be, one of the first things we recommend to those on both sides of the aisle: Companionship.
Not with each other, of course, but with an experienced divorce attorney. You’re going to need a legal, tax and investment professional to help guide you through this change so you don’t end up on shaky financial ground. The goal is to keep things as amicable as possible and as equitable as possible. In cases where relations are contentious or strained, it’s especially important to have a third-party to help mediate the conversation and goals.
Some ways in which you can help to reduce cost and lessen the financial and emotional burdens:
Keep it civil. For one thing, if you have children, this is best for their emotional stability through what is already a confusing and tumultuous time for them. But beyond that, if you start squabbling over every minor asset and issue, you’re going to spend time and money fighting over details that may not matter in a few short years.
Recognize what is no longer “on paper.” Even just a few years ago, a significant portion of financial records were “on paper.” That’s no longer the case. Most financial information is now in a digital format, usually on computer hard drives, smart phones and other digital devices. There are many laws protecting what can and can’t be accessed and how. You may be entitled to information your spouse is holding, but you have to be careful how you collect it.
Review your taxes. Nobody likes looking at taxes, and many people’s eyes glaze over at the thought. However, it’s worth it to become familiar with your joint tax return. This usually contains important information about partnerships, investments and other sources of income.
Educate yourself. If you have generally been the one to avoid dealing with money and investment issues, the time to get educated about these issues is now. It’s fairly common for spouses to hide investments from one another, and this is where working with a divorce lawyer can help you uncover those assets – to which you are entitled a portion.
Re-examine your financial needs. Your plans for savings, spending and investment may change significantly once you are single. For example, all that money you were setting aside for your child’s college fund? You may need to revisit that.
Adult children and real estate. Increasingly, older couples are divorcing and wrangling with questions about how to divvy up real estate like beach houses or downtown condos, because they want their children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy them. But these properties are almost always more hassle than they are worth, once you factor in upkeep, scheduling conflicts, etc. It’s often best to sell the property and divide the proceeds among the kids.
The bottom line is that each case is going to be different. Our legal team can help set you on the right financial path as you embark on this next leg of the journey.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary and Hammond. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
How to Handle Investments When You Divorce, Nov. 16, 2015, By Lou Carlozo, U.S. News & World Report
More Blog Entries:
Gertiser v. Gertiser – Indiana Supreme Court Weighs Spousal Maintenance, Dec. 20, 2015, Hammond Divorce Attorney Blog