It’s not a pretty topic, but a Massachusetts divorce is a common enough event that it’s worth thinking about for everyone, particularly couples considering marriage. After all, about half of first marriages end in divorce, and the results can be messy for all those involved. Especially messy is anything related to finances.
|INFOGRAPHIC: DIVORCE IN AMERICA © CREDITDONKEY|
As this infographic shows, divorce is far more common for couples who marry younger than age 20 than those who wait until they’re over 25. It’s also more common for those who have children already or one on the way when they tie the knot. There are complicated demographic issues behind those numbers, but they point to the likelihood that people may make unwise moves when they’re young or when they feel pressured to make a major life decision.
BEFORE THE WEDDING BELLS
What can couples do before the wedding (or even the engagement) to make the marriage more durable? Many religious traditions call for some type of counseling where they can talk through big issues that might come up. Non-religious couples can do the same thing, either through formal sessions with a counselor or by going through a list of questions with each other.
The statistics bear the old phrase out – the typical divorce happens in the eighth year of marriage, which means things likely got particularly rough in year seven. But it might be best for couples to start thinking about their future earlier than that. Marriage counselors will often say that many of their clients come to them too late. It’s better, they say, to nip brewing resentments and disagreements in the bud than to wait until they become insurmountable.
THINKING OF THE CHILDREN
For any couple with kids, the biggest worry about seeking a divorce is probably how it will affect the children. There’s no doubt that parents splitting up can be hard on kids. Then again, so can having parents who stay together but can’t get along.
THE MONEY QUESTION
How assets are divided up in a divorce depends on Massachusetts laws and individual circumstances, including whether a couple has a prenuptial agreement. The legal costs of actually getting a divorce vary a great deal as well, with some states allowing no-fault divorces and others demanding more complicated proceedings to show some wrongdoing by one spouse. Then, there’s the cost of living post-divorce, which often involves two households operating on incomes that previously supported just one. There’s no question that divorce is costly, and anyone contemplating it should get ready to handle a new financial situation.
An obvious first step toward getting your finances in order is paying off debt, which will provide flexibility in your new life and could help severe ties with your soon-to-be ex. If there’s some personal debt you just can’t shake, think about transferring your balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.