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Woodbury Family Law Blog

Dividing assets can be challenging during the divorce process

Ending a marital union is far from a simple process emotionally. However, it can be just as daunting financially, particularly for couples who have high-value property. Here is a look at how the property division process works during a divorce proceeding in Minnesota.

Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, as are most states in the United States. This means that any assets that two married individuals have accumulated between their marriage and separation dates have to be divided in what a judge believes is a fair manner. As a result, one party may end up getting 70% of the assets, whereas the other party received 30% of them if they contributed less effort to attaining these assets.

How will my divorce affect my children?

Many divorcing parents are concerned about how their divorce may affect their children. Some parents are so worried about their kids that they decide to postpone their divorce, even if their situation makes them unhappy.

Every family’s situation is different, and the decision to divorce or not must be made on a case by case basis. However, parents who are weighing their options may benefit from learning how the experience could affect their kids.

Postnuptial agreement offers protection during divorce

Many couples in Minnesota opted to avoid a prenuptial agreement prior to walking down the aisle. Now, some are having second thoughts about this decision because it appears they may be headed for a divorce down the road. The good news? It is not too late to create this type of marital contract after the marriage. Postnuptial agreements are essentially prenups that are executed after the wedding day. 

A postnuptial agreement can address how the parties will divide their assets in the event that they get divorced in the future. This is an especially helpful agreement for those who have accumulated significant assets after tying the knot. For instance, perhaps an inventor's creation becomes increasingly popular, or a writer's novel becomes a bestseller. If these individuals increase their net worth rather quickly, a postnuptial agreement may come in handy for protecting their assets from their spouses as much as possible if divorce is inevitable in the future.

Divorce has an impact on 401(k) savings

Along with being emotionally challenging, the dissolution of a marriage can present financial hurdles. For this reason, individuals in Minnesota may worry about how the divorce process will impact their retirement funds and thus their ability to retire. Let's take a look at how divorce impacts 401(k) savings.

If two people decide to get a divorce, it is critical that they review their prenuptial agreement if they created one. This agreement highlights how the two parties' marital property, or shared property, will be divided during the divorce. However, if they did not develop this type of agreement before getting married, then the 401(k) funds of one individual have to be divided between both parties.

Financial planning is an important part of divorce planning

The rate of marital dissolution has dropped from around 50% around 40 years ago to about 39% now. However, divorce in Minnesota can still easily happen today if two spouses have irreconcilable differences. Unfortunately, divorce can be devastating from not only an emotional standpoint but also a financial one. Here is a rundown on what individuals who are going through divorce can do protect themselves financially in the years ahead.

First, it may behoove those going through marital dissolutions to consult financial planners early on. These professionals can assist divorcing spouses in understanding how much they own versus how much they owe. This is especially the case for spouses who were not active in overseeing their family finances, including paying bills, managing budgets, and contributing to investment or retirement accounts.

Divorce affects Social Security benefit amount

Going through a marital dissolution can financially affect an individual whether he or she was married five years or 50 years. However, getting a divorce closer to one's golden years can especially be challenging in Minnesota. The good news is that Social Security benefits are available for divorced individuals to claim based on their ex-spouses' employment records, and their exes will not be impacted by the benefits they claim.

Here is how Social Security works for divorced parties. People who are divorced may receive 1/2 of their exes' full retirement benefit amounts at full retirement age. In addition, if their ex-spouses die before they do, they may claim the benefits that their ex-spouses would have obtained. Still, prior to receiving benefits based on their exes' work records, they have to fulfill a few requirements.

Emotional aspect of divorce important to address

Ending a marriage can be complicated from both a logistical and a financial standpoint. However, the emotional aspect of divorce can also be hard to deal with. Fortunately, a few tips may help those divorcing in Minnesota to tackle the emotional aspect of a marital breakup with confidence.

First, people who are getting divorced ideally need to accept their reality -- that their marriages are coming to an end. Once they do this, they can more easily move forward with dealing with divorce matters like property distribution. Second, speaking with life coaches or therapists may help to process divorce-sparked feelings and address them in a healthy manner.

How to cope with a high conflict spouse during divorce

Toxic marriages can be crippling. They can take a tremendous emotional toll and have a way of contaminating self-esteem and self-worth. It seems irrational to stay with someone who isn’t good for you, but sometimes the most destructive relationships can be the hardest ones to leave.

When facing the end of a toxic marriage, it’s common for people to feel “less than” or like a failure. But you’re not less than, and you’re not a failure. And, you’re also not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce. Divorce is never easy but divorcing someone with a high conflict personality can add additional challenges.

Joint child custody does not have to be painful for the parents

The divorce process in Minnesota can be especially difficult for the parents of young children to navigate. This is true even if they agree to share custody of the children, as child custody conflicts could easily erupt at any time going forward. However, a couple of tips may help parents to make their joint custody situation as painless as possible.

First, it is critical that both parents are respectful of each other. This includes not speaking negatively about each other to their children. Instead, both parties would benefit from attempting to navigate the co-parenting process in a manner that is as low conflict as possible.

Child custody case during divorce can be smooth

A particularly challenging aspect of the divorce process is figuring out how to deal with a future ex-spouse during the negotiation process. This can be especially difficult for the parents of young children who are going through divorce, as child custody can quickly become a source of conflict. A couple of steps, however, may help to make the divorce process as smooth as possible for those in this situation in Minnesota.

First, it may be beneficial for the two parties who are getting divorced to try to minimize their contact with one another following their divorce. As co-parents, they will likely need to have discussions about their shared children, but that does not mean they have to speak often. Encouraging open dialogue while setting boundaries may help to avoid unnecessary conflict in the co-parenting relationship. In addition, it is a smart idea for the parents to use the same rules and parenting styles to further avoid conflict.

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