The economy, the stock market, and divorce are three circumstances that affect your financial stability.
You can't control the economy or the stock market, but with proper preparation you can direct the distribution of assets during your divorce to a result that will be in your favor.
How do you make sure that you will be okay?
Prepare by conducting a financial analysis of your current life style.
Divorce Smarts: 3 Tips to Preserve Your Assets
Each party is required to file a financial statement with the court. This is the single most important document filed during a divorce. This is the document that the Judge will rely on for determining child support, alimony and division of assets. Your attorney will help you complete it, but you need to provide the numbers. Preparing this form ahead of time, before the divorce is filed, will help you determine how much money you will need to live after divorce. The financial statements can be found on-line at www. Mass.gov/service-details/financial-statements.
Sometimes the divorce settlement that satisfies those emotional wants is not the best for your financial needs. For example, you may want to stay in the marital home because you are attached to it with memories of raising your children and better times. Ask yourself the following questions, can you afford to stay in the home? Will you be able to assume the mortgage, take care of the maintenance and still save for your future? Are there tax implications if an asset you receive is sold? Are you receiving part of a pension? Are you going to receive any portions of your spouse's retirement accounts? If so, there are strict federal laws that must be followed concerning the transfer. Before a settlement is signed, it is important you have reviewed each term for its financial effect on your future. A certified divorce financial analyst can help you answer these questions and arrive at a settlement that will provide for your future.
Properties, pensions, retirement funds and securities, small businesses as well as personal property and collections are all considered marital assets for the purpose of asset distribution in a divorce. Don't fall into the trap of undervaluing an asset. Real estate and small businesses need to be appraised professionally as well as pensions, vested and unvested stock options and other retirement vehicles. Valuable art or other collections should be appraised to avoid any disagreements during settlement. Knowing the true value of all the marital assets will protect you from making the mistake of signing a settlement agreement for less than the money you deserve.
Attorney Fleischer is on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Women Lawyer's Association and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.