No one goes into a divorce expecting it to be easy, but being unprepared for what lies ahead can make an already difficult process even harder. One of the most important aspects of getting through a divorce is making sure you are asking for what you deserve financially.
Ultimately, your divorce experience is unique. There may be some financial requests that apply to your settlement that do not apply to others. However, there are some general items that you should make sure you have secured during negotiations.
As an Arizona Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) professional and CPA who has experienced divorce myself, I have helped many women and identify potential missed money that they are entitled to in their marital dissolution. Today, I’ll be sharing with you some tips for what to ask for as you prepare for or are going through the divorce process.
Life Insurance for Alimony and/or Child Support
If Arizona courts order your spouse to pay you alimony and/or child support, make sure that these payments are protected in the event of their death. You can do this by having them purchase a life insurance policy with you as the irrevocable beneficiary. Should they pass away during the term of the obligation, the policy will still pay out, ensuring that you and any shared children are taken care of financially.
Do you have children that you plan to send to college or are already attending higher education? If you do, you’ll want to make sure that their education is taken care of ias part of your divorce settlement. This can be done by including language in your settlement that requires your spouse to continue contributing to college costs and/or pay a certain percentage of any additional college expenses.
In a divorce, retirement benefits are often one of the most contentious assets to divide. It is important to remember that these are benefits that you have earned during the marriage and are therefore entitled to an equitable percentage of them. If you or your spouse has a 401(k), make sure that your rightful portion is included in the asset division of your divorce negotiations. An experienced CDFA® professional like me can help you and your attorney determine the proper figure to ask for.
Appropriate Division of Debt
In addition to dividing assets, you will also need to come to an agreement about who will be responsible for what debts. This is often a contentious point, so it is important to have a clear understanding of what debts are considered joint and which ones are separate. An experienced CPA like me can help you decide what your best options are for managing debt after your divorce to ensure you do not end up shouldering unfair financial burdens.
You will also need to determine who gets what when it comes to physical assets. This includes everything from furniture, real estate holdings, and cars to family heirlooms and pets. It is important to consider the items most important to you and the ones that you possessed prior to the start of your marriage.
Financial assets are everything from savings and checking accounts to investments and stocks. These items need to be divided in a way that is equitable to both parties. An experienced CDFA® professional like me can help you determine what a fair division would look like based on the specific and unique circumstances of your marriage and divorce.
In some cases, a spouse may attempt to hide funds in financial assets like a business or real estate holding to create a perception that they have less money. A CDFA® professional can perform a forensic accounting investigation to determine if there is any dishonestly hidden money to ensure you receive the settlement you’re entitled to.
Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Plans
If you have children with your former spouse, you will need to negotiate legal decision-making and a parenting plan. In some cases, one parent may receive legal decision-making while the other has parenting time. In most cases, however, joint legal decision-making is awarded.
Arizona courts do not have any preferential standards when determining legal decision-making as long as both parents are deemed to be fit. This is often the responsibility of the parents and their attorneys to negotiate an agreeable situation between themselves.
It is important to point out that the State of Arizona treats parenting time and child support as separate legal matters. If your former spouse is consistently late or neglectful to pay their financial obligations in a timely manner, you can enforce the terms of your divorce settlement to help ensure you continue receiving child support and/or spousal maintenance from your former spouse.
Get Help Securing a Greater Post-Divorce Financial Future Today
At Bridge Divorce Strategies, my team of financial experts and I collaborate to help women ensure that they receive equitable divorce settlements. From forensic accounting to asset valuation, post-divorce financial planning, and a wide range of other services, I want to help you enter this new chapter of your life with confidence.
To learn more about how we can assist you and your legal team with your Arizona divorce case, contact us today to get started.