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Financial issues facing divorcing Massachusetts couples

One of the most worrisome factors for divorcing Massachusetts couples is the fear that one's standard of living will shift dramatically downward. As the saying goes,"two can live as cheaply as one," but maintaining two households with two sets of bills definitely costs more money each month.

Your attorney can help you address the pressing financial issues you will face when you begin the process of dividing the marital assets. Having someone on your side who is not emotionally invested in the community property can help you keep a clearer head and remain focused on the bottom line and brokering the best deal that you can.

If you own (or are purchasing) your home, it is a good idea to freeze any open lines of credit on your home equity to avoid any liens being placed on the property. If you and your spouse have brokerage accounts, this advice holds true there as well.

Each party needs to compose a list of their net-worth assets, both as a couple and individually. Then do the same with your debts. Get a free copy of both of your credit reports to make sure nothing is left out. Don't neglect anticipated future income from rental properties, businesses or stocks that pay out annual or quarterly dividends.

Both spouses also need to draw up a list of what they anticipate their monthly expenses to be once they have moved to separate dwellings. Include an emergency savings fund for emergencies and future investments.

Couples with minor children should discuss taking out separate insurance policies with their financial planners. In the event of an unexpected death of a parent, the children would be taken care of even if alimony and child support suddenly cease. Your attorney can make this a condition of the divorce settlement.

Nobody likes to go over the remains of what was once a thriving marriage. However, staying on top of your financial business insures that you will receive an equitable distribution of assets once the ink is dry on the divorce decree.

Source: Investopedia, "How To Manage Your Finances Through A Divorce" No author given, May. 16, 2014

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