New York, NY- Experts are constantly trying to figure out the many reasons so many American marriages end in divorce. While there are a myriad of reasons marriages end from incompatibility to infidelity, but nothing is more toxic to a marriage than fighting over money and what is a contentious issue during a marriage will surely spill over into the divorce process.
A 2009 study from Utah State University showed that the biggest predictor of divorce for both men and women, above infidelity, are fights over the marital finances. The study found that couples who argued about money at least once a week were 30 percent more likely to get a divorce than couples who argued about money only once a month. So when divorce seems imminent, estranged couples need to protect their financial issues in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.
One of the first important steps to take when you know divorce is inevitable is to contact a divorce attorney, they can help guide through the first stages of unraveling your finances from your estranged spouse by helping you identifying marital and non-marital assets. Your legal counsel can also outline the type of support you or your spouse are entitled to so the two of you can plan for your new life apart.
Before the divorce process begins, a couple must first decide who gets to take possession of the marital home. Aside from child custody, who will take possession of the marital home is likely to be a quarrelsome issue because a home is typically the bulk of a couple’s wealth and has emotional value.
The easiest route for a couple to take is to sell the home and split the proceeds, but one party may not want to give up their home, especially if that is where they planned to raise their children.
Property division and other financial issues are generally decided before the divorcing couple appears before a judge; therefore it is important for a couple to determine how the property will be divided before drafting the final settlement. Assets acquired before a marriage can usually be excluded from a final divorce settlement. A divorce attorney will work closely with their clients to assure that assets are fairly divided and each individual’s standard of living is maintained.
When one spouse accumulates debt it is becomes the responsibility of both parties and a divorce doesn’t change that. Both spouses must disclose both their individual debts and assets in order to come up with agreeable settlement. Hiding assets can have consequences that in extreme cases can land a person in jail.
If one spouse suspects the other of hiding assets, which constitutes fraud, a divorce attorney will use their investigative skills to find those assets. Amid divorce proceedings, your attorney can ask to see paystubs, pension statements, and other financial records to determine if all assets have been fully disclosed.
Divorce has a significant impact on a couple’s finances, especially if one spouse makes more than the other. If one spouse’s primary responsibility was to take care of the marital home and children, but did not work outside the home, a divorce attorney will work to make certain you and your children are taken care of financially.