Berman & Asbel, LLP

Issues of property division can be aided by proper planning

Spouses in Pennsylvania who fear that their marriage may be headed for divorce should take heed of advice that claims that financial planning is the key to a smooth transition from married to single. By taking the proper steps before divorce papers are even filed, people can help offset the financial strain that comes with property division and a restructured budget following divorce. In addition, going into a divorce with an accurate assessment of the financial outcome can help minimize the stress associated with the process.

One of the first steps that spouses must take is to gather together all of the documentation for any existing jointly held accounts. It is imperative to know what the familial assets are, as well as what is owed in outstanding debt. These issues will take center stage when it comes to property division, and the best way to protect one's interests is to come into these negotiations informed.

In addition, working with a financial planner or skilled divorce attorney can sometimes help an individual get a feel for what his or her income and budget may look like following the divorce. Dissolving a marriage has financial consequences to both former spouses. Knowing in advance where potential problems may occur gives individuals the chance to address them sooner, rather than later.

In addition to issues of property division, other financial considerations include changes in tax obligations, retirement planning and estate planning adjustments. For example, it is easy to overlook issues that need to be addressed once you are in the middle of a divorce proceeding. However, failing to change the beneficiary on your life insurance could result in your ex receiving your benefits in the event of your passing. As with any major life change, a Pennsylvania divorce is made easier by simply understanding what to expect. Proper financial planning can help toward reaching that goal.

Source: USA Today, "Before divorce, you should get financially prepared," Hadley Malcolm, Sept. 9, 2012

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