In The News

Helping Northern Westchester Families

May 28, 2019BY:
IN: Divorce and Money

Money, Money, Money……

Abba’s hit song Money, Money, Money has been called the gold diggers’ anthem, and with good reason.  Sadly, the persona is mistaken in surmising that “[it] is always sunny in the rich man’s world.” 

Rich or poor, anyone who has ever experienced the pain of a break-up knows that money cannot fix broken hearts.  Ironically, decisions about money and assets can completely consume a couple faced with separation or divorce.  

In a Collaborative Divorce that burden is lifted as the neutral financial specialist and the Collaborative attorneys work together to ensure the couple considers all relevant financial issues when negotiating a Separation or Settlement Agreement.  As many clients find it helpful to know in advance what decisions they will be faced with, I like to provide my clients with the following checklist:

A. Property Division

1. Marital Residence and other Real Estate

  • Any separate property claim?
  • Occupancy in interim?
  • Payment of expenses in interim (mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs, utilities).
  • If property is to be sold, provisions for sale (when to be sold, price, division of proceeds, payment of expenses of sale, capital gains taxes).

2. Pensions and Retirement Funds

  • Valuation.
  • Division of value.

3. Business Interests and Professional Practices

  • Valuation.
  • Division of value.

4. Other Personal Property

  • Valuation.
  • Division of value/property (cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, investments, cars, boats, jewelry, collectibles, household furniture, cash value of life insurance, family photographs).

5. Debts and Liabilities

  • Division of debt (credit cards, car loans, bank loans, pension loans, life insurance loans).

B. Children’s Expenses

  1. Direct Child Support
  • Amount.
  • Duration (define Emancipation).
  • When due?
  • How will payment be made?
  • Provisions for adjustments in amount.
  • Reduction when attending college?

2. Medical Expenses

  • Who provides health insurance?
  • Who pays for health insurance?
  • Who pays for uninsured health expenses?

3. Educational Expenses

  • Day-care.
  • Private school.
  • After-school.
  • College or vocational school.

4. Other expenses

  • Child-care to allow a parent to work/study.
  • Summer Camp.
  • Extracurricular Activities.

5. Life Insurance to secure Child Support obligation

  • Amount.
  • Duration.
  • Type.
  • Beneficiary.
  • Trustee for Children?

C. Parties’ Expenses

  1. Spousal Maintenance
  • Amount.
  • Duration (number of years, remarriage, co-habitation).
  • When due?
  • How will payment be made?
  • Provisions for adjustment in amount.

2. Medical Expenses

  • Who provides health insurance?
  • Who pays for health insurance?
  • Who pays for uninsured health expenses?
  • COBRA rights and cooperation.

3. Life Insurance to secure Spousal Maintenance obligation

  • Amount.
  • Duration.
  • Type.
  • Beneficiary.

D. Income Taxes

  1. Joint or Separate.
  2. How to divide existing refund/liability.
  3. Capital Gains.
  4. Exemptions/Credits.
  5. Audits.

E. Miscellaneous

  1. Future disputes and who will pay (mediation, arbitration).
  2. How will current legal fees be paid.
  3. Grounds for divorce.
  4. Timing of divorce.
  5. Who will be acting as Plaintiff.
  6. Religious Divorce.
  7. Update Estate Planning Documents.

Clearly, making all these financial decisions can be a daunting task, especially in the emotionally-charged environment of a divorce or separation.  A qualified Collaborative team can guide you through the process and help you and your spouse to achieve a settlement that best meets your family’s unique needs. 

The author, Margaretha L. Gravett, is a member of Northern Westchester Collaborative Divorce Professionals which is an association of lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals specializing in the collaborative divorce process. If you have questions about collaborative divorce and how this alternative to courtroom litigation can work for you, please contact Margaretha L. Gravett. Contact information can be found by clicking/tapping the author image or the "View Profile" link on this page.

Print

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!