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Preparing for the Future Through Divorce Planning

The division of marital property in a divorce proceeding can be of significant, if not overriding, importance. In many ending marriages, there is much to consider, including the family home, alimony obligations, pension and retirement accounts, investments of various types, as well as tax consequences that are often at play.

Many divorcing couples, though, fail to take these matters sufficiently into account, choosing instead – and for various reasons, divorce being a deeply personal matter – to focus on the most straightforward and immediate concerns confronting them. During divorce, many spouses are emotional, impatient, preoccupied and stressed. Often, they simply want to agree on points quickly, sign the relevant papers and move on.

That failure to think carefully and long term can hurt materially in the future. What happens in divorce really matters in upcoming decades. Many family law attorneys and financial planners, such as Van Sievers in Montgomery, Alabama, counsel clients to focus sharply on what will matter later.

Regarding the home, for example, is it really right to assume that in nearly all instances the most logical outcome is that the ex-spouse with child custody takes it? What if it turns out to too expensive to maintain? Sometimes it is better to sell it during divorce and divide the proceeds.

Sometimes it is also better to avoid the urge to “divide things down the middle.” That often means that, while one party gets the house, the other gets to keep pension and/or retirement accounts. That might end up being fair. Then again, it might not.

There are many other factors to consider when divorcing that relate to tax, insurance, future needs of the children and more, and a divorce attorney with ample experience in identifying, valuating and dividing marital property can help a divorcing spouse optimally prepare for the future.

Related Resource: “Long-term finances often are ignored in divorce settlements” August 3, 2010