Divorce can seem almost glamorous in the movies on TV. Popular culture for years has celebrated the notion of a jilted wife walking away with a fortune that more than sets them up for the rest of their lives. But for those of us who don’t have millions at our disposal, divorce can be one of the most financially devastating experiences we will ever deal with.
As a married couple, people often need to survive on a double income. Many who divorce are left with hefty financial problems as they learn how to live on less.
That harsh reality can be especially true for women. According to US. Census figures, 21 percent of recently divorced women are living below the federal poverty line. The bureau estimates the same fate occurs in 9 percent of recently divorced men. Women are sometimes the breadwinner in the home, but even in 2017 they still usually earn lower wages than their husbands. That truth rings especially true if a woman has decided to leave the workforce to raise children and maintain the family home. Once she and her husband divorce, a woman who has stayed home faces particular financial hardship.
Virginia, like most states, is an equitable distribution state. That means the courts can divvy up the property and money of a divorcing couple based on a number of factors, including a spouse’s need or earning power. The courts have the authority to award an equitable distribution of marital property and debts.
There are steps you can take to ensure you end your marriage with enough financial stability to sustain you and your children. First, hire an experienced attorney who has your financial interests as his or her biggest priority. Next, look at your financial situation as well as what you expect your future financial outlook to be. Third, start negotiating. Child support, alimony, the family home, joint bank accounts, stocks, retirement and life insurance are all financial matters that can and should be dealt with and agreed upon in a final divorce settlement. You can get to a point where you feel comfortable with your financial future as you move forward with your life.
Remember, try to take anger out of the equation. Couples who keep their anger in check find themselves in a better financial situation once their divorce is finalized then those who let emotions overtake them.
The experienced family law attorneys at the DiPietro Family Law Group have decades of experience handling all types of family law matters and are here to help you.