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Woodbury Family Law Blog

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.

Gray divorce can have impact on retirement savings

Ending a marriage can have major financial impacts for people of any age in Minnesota. However, these impacts may be even more pronounced for those getting a gray divorce, or a divorce in their 50s or later. When a divorce happens later in life, it does not leave much time to recover financially from the process before one's retirement years.

Before people get divorced later in life, it would behoove them to take stock of their financial situations. The more they understand about their finances, the less likely they are to overspend as they adjust to living on one income versus two incomes following divorce proceedings. Furthermore, people who are getting divorced may want to focus on keeping financial assets and give up the family home during the divorce process.

Alternative dispute resolution may make divorce easier

When two people in Minnesota decide to get divorced, they may be worried about how they will handle issues like alimony and property division. If they have young children, child support and child custody may also be of concern. However, it is possible for people who are going through divorce to resolve these and other family law issues without having to go through the costly and time-consuming litigation process.

An increasing number of divorcing couples are opting for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes, such as arbitration and mediation, rather than going to trial. Why? Because an ADR process offers a far more customized way of ending a marriage. This approach is also faster and more flexible than litigation.

Managing a divorce does not have to be complicated

When people choose to end their marriage, they may feel relief about gaining control of their futures. At the same time, they may feel overwhelmed, as divorce can be time-consuming and complicated. Fortunately, a couple of steps may help to make the divorce process easier to manage in Minnesota.

For starters, it makes sense to be practical when attempting to reach a divorce settlement with the other party. Unfortunately, in many situations, the spouses see each other as competition and look to litigate every aspect of the divorce, ranging from asset distribution to spousal maintenance. This can be costly both loss of time and added costs, in addition to causing unnecessary stress for all parties involved. On the other hand, being cooperative and willing to find common ground can often lead to a more positive divorce experience.

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