In many cases, a divorce has more impact on a person’s current and future financial well-being than any other event in their lives. Sound financial planning may be the last thing on your mind when your marriage ends — particularly if it ends in conflict — but it may never be more valuable.
“Divorce happens in an emotionally charged environment and you’re making financial decisions in a few months that will affect you for the rest of your life,” said certified financial planner and certified divorce financial advisor Michael Ruger, partner and chief investment officer at Greenbush Financial Group in Albany, New York says in this excellent article. “People often don’t look far enough ahead.”
The first thing to understand is that for everyone but the very wealthy, divorce will hurt your standard of living. Two households are more expensive to maintain than one, and if one person in the marriage has been a stay-at-home parent, there is less income and assets to go around.
A settlement, whether mediated or litigated, will almost certainly reduce your quality of life.
Secondly, unless your marriage was short-lived and is ending amicably, you have no children and little marital assets and income, you should consult both a lawyer and financial advisor.
Online divorces are dirt cheap but a good idea only for very simple circumstances with mutually acceptable terms. The mistakes made in a divorce settlement have long-lasting financial effects.