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  • Writer's pictureAlan Jacobs

Agreeing to a “Marriage End Date” Can Reduce Stress in Divorce Mediation

In the divorce process, questions often arise over how separated spouses should manage their financial affairs between the time the divorce process begins and the final entry of the divorce decree. Divorce is often emotional, but people still need to live and spend money, manage households, contribute to retirements, pay for children, and sometimes incur debt. This can be a messy time, and it helps for spouses to have a plan for addressing how expenditures and investments made during the divorce process will be treated in the final division of assets.

During discussions about asset division in divorce mediation, it is important for spouses to understand when the marital partnership ended and agree on a plan for how each spouse’s fluctuations in assets and debt values should be divided in the months leading up to the final divorce. Specifically, it is important for spouses to consider whether they will share responsibility for new debts incurred by either spouse during the divorce process, and whether the increase in the value of assets occurring during the divorce process will be shared between the spouses or retained by only one spouse.

This planning process tends to be significantly easier when spouses agree to set a specific “end of marriage date,” which is often the jumping off point for determining how assets/debts are acquired immediately before the divorce is official will be apportioned. Among the considerations for spouses when mutually selecting a “marriage end date” include whether the spouses are still living together (resulting in more shared expenses); whether the spouses have children (resulting in shared child-related expenses and child support considerations); and whether the spouses have separated their finances. An experienced mediator can help spouses determine a reasonable “end of marriage” date, and plan how assets and debts acquired after the “end of marriage” date, but before the final divorce date, should be treated in the final division of assets.

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