Is it possible to avoid the financial risks of divorce?

Posted by Lauren S. CohenOct 05, 20200 Comments

Divorce often brings financial setbacks, but you may lessen the risk with careful advance planning. If you believe your marriage is over, begin preparing a post-divorce budget. It may serve as a realistic guide for negotiating spousal support, maintenance or property division. 

As noted by USA Today, a typical monthly post-divorce budget includes the cost of housing, transportation, groceries and health care. Keep in mind that your financial needs may change in the future. It may help your planning if you determine how long your savings would last if you lost your employment income. 

When do support and maintenance payments begin?

According to the New York State Unified Court System, spouses must provide support for as long as they remain legally married. A spouse may, however, file a petition to request support after the marriage ends. Referred to as maintenance, the court will consider a request during a divorce case. The amount, however, may change during the negotiation process. 

When a divorce becomes final, the court may order a maintenance arrangement that enables you to preserve your standard of living. This may apply whether you are making or receiving the payments. The final outcome, however, may depend on how well you back up your side of the story with detailed financial records. 

What risks involve my property and assets?

Because New York operates under equitable distribution laws, assets you acquired with your spouse during your marriage belong to both parties. The court requires a fair division of all your property

You and your spouse may, however, decide to trade one asset for another or buy assets from each other at fair market value. In many cases, you may work out a more reasonable property division by negotiating with your spouse directly rather than having the court decide.