No one marries planning to get divorced. Yet, every year, thousands of Maryland couples decided to part ways and end their marriages. This is never the ideal outcome, but the difficulties that accompany a divorce can depend greatly on the steps each party has taken in advance. Do the couples have clarity about their assets? What about the ability to support themselves, or a prenuptial agreement? While thinking about these issues is not always comfortable in the context of a marriage, it can act as “divorce insurance” should something unexpected happen down the line.
Here are some steps one can take to insure themselves against a difficult divorce:
- Stay aware of the family finances: If one party has more financial knowledge than the other, it can make for an unbalanced and overall more difficult split. Having a financial planner and knowing what is going on is a good thing regardless of whether a couple divorces, but it is especially critical if they part ways.
- Consider maintaining earning potential: With rising childcare costs, it can be less expensive for one parent to forgo their career temporarily to care for children. The partner who does this can benefit from staying somewhat engaged in the workforce. This can mean taking part-time or freelance work, engaging in continuing education or returning to work after kids get into school. Being dependent on spousal support can be challenging, so this can make a big difference in one’s financial future.
- Have an emergency fund: Divorce can be a period of unrest and can come with expenses, such as the cost of maintaining two households prior to the marital home being sold (if this is the plan). An emergency fund can be a very critical financial safeguard during this period.
For married couples, taking the above steps make good financial sense regardless of whether they stay together or split. Should a couple divorce, benefits like mutual earning power, emergency savings and clarity on finances can certainly help the financial situation of both parties, as well as their ability to discuss issues in a balanced way. Regardless of one’s preparation for divorce, there will always be challenges, so working with an experienced Maryland family lawyer is also important.