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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

Divorce and your finances

Divorce for those older than age 50 has increased markedly in the last two decades. People often express surprise when a couple married for 20 or 30 years head for divorce court. It really should not be so shocking, as the societal sanctions for divorce have fallen, fewer individuals are willing to "endure" a bad, sterile or empty marriage simply to keep up appearances.

But across that spectrum, there is also a wide spectrum of options available that range from divorce to something less than that. Why you might want to avoid a traditional divorce, is money.

A very large settlement

Call it a problem of foresight. While Harold Hamm may have been astute enough to recognize the development opportunity with the area known as the Bakken Shale formation, he was not omniscient. He could not foresee, although he likely hoped, that it would make him into one of the wealthiest men in the United States.

He also could not foresee decade's into the future and see that his bride would become his ex-wife and receive a $1 billion divorce settlement.

If he had, he no doubt would have done things differently. 

Unvested pension military benefits are marital property

The property division portion of your divorce is very important. It is where the division of your marital assets occurs, and that equitable division will form the foundation for your financial future.

Of course, the actual determination of what is an equitable property division in a particular circumstance can be a complex calculation that demands an examination of the current assets of the couple, such as bank accounts, stocks and other investments and real property. 

Avoid expensive mistakes in your divorce

For most people, divorce is best viewed in terms of the past tense. Few enjoy the process itself. The gathering and filing of documents, the preparing for depositions or court hearings, the waiting for a decision and the happiness after a favorable outcome or the turmoil deciding whether to appeal are not most people's idea of a good time.

So, how to best complete the process as quickly and efficiently as possible? By completing the process with minimal delay has an additional benefit. Not only do you move on with your life, but you save money by doing so. 

Wealthy, divorced women face additional complexity

As divorce become more common among the elderly, more women will have to take control of their finances. When you are on your own, advice from friends and family or financial advisors can be helpful, you need to become comfortable managing your money.

In addition to the higher prevalence of "gray divorce," more women within that cohort will have substantial marital property to divide during a divorce. This is a good thing, and for any woman from a family with significant investments, real estate holdings or business ownership, it is important to be aware of the scope of your net worth.

Do you understand how divorce will change your finances?

A divorce resets your world, in ways both great and small. From removing your wedding ring to how you spend time with your children and what your retirement may look like, a divorce can change a great deal in your world.

Your financial health could be very different after a divorce, and it is important to make certain that you understand the economic ramifications of the financial decisions you make during your property division process.

Alimony in Ohio

One of the reasons why a divorce is difficult and sometimes painful is that there is no template that works for all divorces. Each one is unique and different. Just as the dynamic of each couples' marriage is different, so too is the manner in which they divorce.

Even if you reviewed the final divorce settlements of a dozen other couples, their property division, spousal support, child custody and child support arrangements would probably look very different from what you may consider optimal.

An item like child support can vary tremendously from couple to couple, depending on the number of children, the custody agreement and the income of the parties. Similarly, spousal support is highly variable.

Divorce can improve your future

Divorce may not be an optimal outcome. But it may be much better than your current marriage. While divorce and the language of divorce is often focused on failure, think "failed marriage," if your marriage is not proving to be a positive part of your life, can a divorce really be that much worse?

Certainly, you need to be careful with your financial outcome from a divorce. If your spouse wants to damage your future, they can damage your economic future. However, if they are so minded, there are probably many other areas in your marriage where they may already be causing you harm.

Fairness and child support

Child support obligations are often controversial. No matter where they are set, it often seems as if they are incorrect, unrealistic or punishing. Across the U.S., there are three basic models of child support guidelines used by the states. There are the "income shares," the "percentage of income" and the "Melson Formula."

In Ohio, the child support guidelines are based on the "income shares" model. The model attempts determine the percentage of parental income the child would have received had the parents not divorced. 

In high asset divorce, the fight may be over the prenuptial

In family court, all things are relative. If the couple has limited assets, the property division is likely to be rather straightforward and easy to ascertain. There may be a family home, a couple of cars, a bank account or two and if they are lucky, some retirement plans or a pension.

But if one or both parties to the marriage had significant income and high net worth, the complexity of the property division may escalate rapidly. If one member of the marriage is a hedge fund manager purported to be worth billions, the difficulty of the property division may be off the charts.