As the saying goes, the best way to prevent a problem is to be prepared for it in the first place. Fortunately, no matter what issue you’re facing, someone has been there before, and has documented the pitfalls and secrets so that you don’t have to learn by experience.

This post today will be talking about an area that often is neglected until it is too late: Planning for post-divorce finances while still being married.

That might sound pessimistic, selfish, and even fatalistic, but the truth is that while married, any reasonable effort you expend on your own personal finances will benefit the marriage as well, so it’s a win-win.

One of the most important things to remember for any sort of future planning is the 4% rule. Known by financial experts the world over, the 4% rule states that for a retirement account to maintain itself for its desired length, withdrawals should be no more than 4% per year. As the market fluctuates, and people’s desired retirement age changes, that amount could fluctuate, but it’s a good rule of thumb to apply to any retirement situation.

Naturally, that requires quite a bit of advanced planning. If you plan to retire on $30,000 a year, that means that you should plan to have $750,000 saved up in retirement accounts. If that amount sounds shocking, it’s for a good reason: Retirement is expensive, and you do not want to turn 83 and find out that you are completely broke. There is no age where it’s too young to start saving for retirement, and it is a solid fact that the sooner you start saving, the better. It is always possible to be employed part-time while you are in your retirement years, but employment gets increasingly harder to find the older you get, and you will be simply unable to perform certain demanding tasks any more.

It might seem strange to talk about retirement planning and divorce together, but the reality is that middle-aged and elderly couples are getting divorced at increasing rates, and the absolute last thing you want is to walk out of family court single and virtually penniless in your 50s or 60s. You do not have to be actually facing divorce to plan for a single future.

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There are many aspects about divorces that are public knowledge, but for some strange reason, details about life after divorce are relatively hard to find.

This is problematic, since the first few years after a divorce is finalized can be the most tumultuous part of the entire process, and can really set the stage for the rest of an individual’s life.

One of the major things that often goes by the wayside after a divorce is retirement planning, which is understandable and yet terrible at the same time. It is inarguable that finances are tight after a divorce, with household expenses effectively doubling for each spouse, but there are certain areas to cut down on and certain other areas not to.

The first thing to do is assess all the retirement accounts that you still possess. Do you have a 401k or a Roth IRA? Do you have stock index funds or bond funds? All of this information will need to be rebalanced with your expenses and income, and the amount you set aside each month will have to be adjusted.

Oftentimes, when looking over a financial portfolio after a divorce, many people will realize that they never really had an ironclad financial plan. Now that you are going over your finances, it would be a great time to figure those things out. The most important thing, however, is to keep growing your retirement accounts however possible.

It is understandable that you might need to put a temporary hold on your investments, but it is crucially important to your future that retirement accounts be the last things cut, and that you resume the investments as soon as possible. Time and compound growth are by far the most important parts of any investment.

If you ever have any questions about finances after your divorce, do not be afraid to get in touch with your divorce attorney. They will be able to provide the answers and insight that you might need.

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When a couple in Florida separates, a legal agreement is not required.  However, a separation agreement is advisable when a couple has very differing financial situations, such as one partner is the wage earner and one stays home and takes care of the children.  A formal separation agreement will help ensure that all family members’ needs be met. 

The agreement needs to cover all necessary details and also comply with any applicable law.  The terms of the agreement will depend on the needs of the couple and any children involved, but the following details should be covered in the agreement. 

  • Custody of the children
  • Child support
  • The spouses’ right to live separately
  • Income taxes
  • Insurance – medical, dental and life
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • A visitation schedule
  • Property and debt division

Although a separation agreement does not have to be filed with the court, it can be presented if problems arise in the future. 

Another reason for filing a separation agreement is to protect the assets obtained after the separation.  It would seem common sense that once a couple has separated emotionally and financially, that whatever assets obtained after the separation would belong to the individual who obtained the asset.  Unfortunately, this is not so.  When one partner decides to petition for a dissolution of marriage, if a valid separation agreement has not been executed, all assets of the couple will be evenly distributed to both spouses. 

In order to prevent any unnecessary litigation and court expenses and protect your assets as well, as soon as you separate from your spouse execute a valid separation agreement.  An experienced family law attorney can assist you in this process and can also ensure that the document will be upheld in the future should you or your spouse decide to petition for a dissolution of marriage.

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