Look Into the Future When Negotiating Your Divorce

A divorce settlement lasts indefinitely, and it can have an impact on the former spouses for the rest of their lives. Obviously, making two households where there was one leaves less for both parties, which requires a change in thinking.

In assessing a divorce settlement a party should try to determine its financial impact down the road. A myriad of factors -- assets and investments, incomes and expenses, inflation, alimony, child support, taxes, retirement plans, medical and health insurance costs, and college for the children -- must be considered.

Divorce compromises the life style of parents and children. A settlement that impoverishes one spouse is likely to go into default in the future. Sometimes it is best to get payments up front if possible, even if the amount is smaller than might otherwise be expected. Adequate insurance protects the divorce settlement. The unexpected or premature death or disability of the payer spouse can upend the finances of the recipient. Unexpected death may result in a loss of alimony, child support, college tuition, or property settlement payments. Life and disability insurance policies guarantee these payments.

The transition from a married couple back to a single person can be eased by sound financial goals and expectations. Financial planning can help people move from a married to single mindset by prioritizing financial goals and developing realistic expectations.

The transition can start with something as simple as changing the beneficiaries of life insurance policies, IRAs, and wills so the estates are conveyed to intended parties -- the children, a new partner, or favorite charity-- not a former spouse. Changes to an estate plan during and after a divorce often require legal and financial advice.

Today computer models produce comprehensive and realistic analyses of a party’s life after divorce. A divorce attorney or financial planner who specializes in divorce can analyze a divorce settlement.



Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions
This book is a practical guide to evaluating assets during divorce. It explains how to determine the real value of marital property including houses, businesses, retirement plans and investments and how to negotiate a settlement that is fair to both sides.

Authors: Violet Woodhouse & Dale Fetherling


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