Divorce has enough stress and anxiety without adding to it your worries that you will struggle financially after you split with your spouse. While it is true that many divorced individuals in Arizona and across the country spend months or years trying to get back on their feet after a divorce, it does not always have to be that way.
Even if you have been married longer than 10 years and are closing in on your retirement, you can still take steps to protect yourself from a financial crisis. As emotional as a divorce may be, it is imperative that you remain focused on obtaining a fair division of property, and this does not always mean a 50-50 split.
Assets may not be all that they seem
One of the most common mistakes divorcing couples make is to assume splitting assets equally is fair. This is not always the case. The outright value of an asset may not be the whole picture. For example, when dividing retirement accounts or investments, it is important to know about the tax implications, penalties for withdrawal and potential for growth before accepting one or the other in a settlement. Some other factors to consider during property division include the following:
- The house: Can you afford the mortgage, property taxes, utilities and upkeep on the home when you will have only your salary?
- Alimony: Remember that federal alimony laws recently changed, so you cannot deduct alimony if you pay, but you will not have to pay taxes on money you receive as spousal support.
- Child support: You do not have to pay taxes on any child support you receive, nor can you deduct child support if you pay.
- Debt: Arizona law considers any debt either of you incurred during your marriage as jointly owned, so you may end up responsible for credit cards or loans your partner acquired.
Because of the complexities of property division, it is always wise to seek experienced legal advice before agreeing to any property division settlement. If you accept a settlement that seems evenly divided, you may be surprised at the hidden consequences in some of the assets you gain or lose. With an advocate at your side, along with the many resources available, you may be able to reach your goal of a bright future free from financial stress.