The end of a marriage can be a difficult time. It can be made even more frustrating when couples haven't taken the necessary financial steps to prepare for divorce. Setting aside some time to consider your financial situation and how it could change in divorce can help save you time, money and stress down the road.
This is especially important for women. While gender roles are becoming less restrictive and many women have careers of their own, divorcing women are still disproportionately vulnerable to a negative change in circumstances. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a man's lifestyle increases by 63 percent after a divorce, perhaps because he is only supporting himself and has fewer financial obligations to a family. On the other hand, an average woman's lifestyle drops by 37 percent.
Women, and often their children, can be left in the financial lurch after a divorce if a couple doesn't plan properly before a marriage. A few tips can help you and your spouse plan for a happy financial future.
Think about a prenuptial agreement like you would a will
Nobody wants to think about tragedies that may arise in the future. But as you've probably been told, being prepared for the worst can put you in the best position. Just as you can secure the future of your estate and your family with a will, you can protect your financial interests down the road with a prenuptial agreement.
Start at the beginning
The start of a marriage - or even earlier - is the best time to discuss financial planning with your spouse or partner. If you collaborate on a plan from the beginning, your finances won't be scary and unfamiliar if the time comes to part. Take advantage of a strong marital bond to make sure you will both be cared for in the future.
Think about different types of assets
In the past, the marital home was often a hotly-contested asset during divorce. But in recent years, as mortgages balloon and foreclosures go through, it can be more of a liability. On the other hand, retirement funds and pensions are assets you likely want to hold on to.
If you are thinking about marriage and want to make sure your financial interests and protected, consider speaking with an experienced attorney who can help.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio, "Ruth Hayden on money and divorce," Emily Kaiser, Oct. 12, 2012,
Please visit our page on prenuptial agreements in Minnesota to learn more about protecting your assets in the event of a divorce.