by Tiago Cabral
It seems cruel that amid all the emotional struggles a divorce brings with it, money has to be such a tremendous burden and source of added anxiety. Divorces have many costs, some more tangible than others. This is an article about the tangible toll that a failed marriage has and tips on what to expect and how to cope.
From the reallocation of property and debt to child support to taxes to retirement planning, there are a slew of financial issues that are intertwined with most divorces. Chances are you and your spouse share a lot of assets, from furniture to stocks to pets! You might even have a sentimental attachment to some of them. Unless the two of you agree on how to divide all the property up, you might have to brush off on your bartering skills. Some parting couples even opt to sell all the property at once and divide the profits.
While that comfortable sofa and antique dresser might be in demand, the debt you two shared certainly won’t be. A joint credit report deserves a good look as you and your lawyer(s) determine what’s fair. As you distribute the debt, try to cap off whatever debt you currently have. Divorce is expensive and you want to deflate the financial burden as much as you can today. Again, more bartering may be in order here. Take on more debt in exchange for more assets, or vice versa. If you have an open mind and cooperate, you’ll likely come to a fair divorce settlement. It’s not unusual for a divorcing couple to split the debt right down the middle.
Surprisingly, you’re going to have some new tax issues to think about too. If you have dependents, which person will get that tax exemption from now on? Many other tax exemptions and deductibles that you probably took for granted as a married couple will need to be reevaluated after a divorce.
Not to mention, child support and alimony! These issues are highly variable and personable but they are going to be big ones if you and your former spouse have children together.
Men sometimes have great financial difficulties affording child support, but statistics show it’s newly single mothers that have the most money problems. This is especially evident when a woman must suddenly afford childcare or is swept into a new work environment; kids typically must adjust to a lower standard of living, just like their parents, after a divorce.
An entire family structure gets disrupted during a divorce and that has not only an effect on the personal relationships, but on the overall economic situation of all involved. And these financial issues are deep and complex and have enduring effects.
The best advice for you, the soon-to-be-divorced, is to remind yourself the financial turmoil is only temporary and it can be dealt with the most adequately if you can keep your cool and think practically. While it’s tempting, dividing up property and debt is probably not a time for vengeance or proving a point. The divorce will go quicker and more amicably if you try to stay as calm and rational as possible!
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This Research Animate pulls together some of the key sexual economics arguments made by social scientists, including Roy Baumeister, Kathleen Vohs, Timothy Reichert, Mark Regnerus, and George Akerlof.
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The Economics of Sex