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Divorce negotiations are best conducted by informed parties

A recent survey reported in Texas and nationwide indicated that some women came through divorce with surprise financial experiences that were more demanding and disappointing than they had expected. The best defense for women to avoid some or all of those surprises is to be informed and knowledgeable about the details of one's financial status and preferably to become so informed during the marriage. To learn these lessons after the divorce is finalized may be too late to change the unwanted outcomes as easily.

Experts conclude that women must become informed prior to entering into divorce negotiations. They should know their net worth as a couple and be able to list all joint and individual expenses. They must calculate a comparison of keeping the marital home as opposed to investing the equity in future security. This is because one common surprise that women experience is that it becomes too expensive to keep the marital home after a divorce because it is a high-cost maintenance item, which can wear down one's cash reserves.

It is yet unknown and untested what changes in divorce negotiations will occur with the changes in alimony and support tax deductibility rules passed by Congress in the recent federal tax legislation. A meeting with one's divorce attorney will be helpful in clarifying some of the issues in that respect. If the divorce is negotiated and executed in this calendar year, the old rules will still apply. Nonetheless, specific deadlines and strategies of this change must be discussed with the attorney and a qualified divorce analyst if desired.

Of course, in some cases the values attributed to women will be more applicable to a male spouse during and after a divorce.  Each spouse must understand the post-divorce responsibilities and financial challenges. Both men and women in Texas who are finalizing divorces will benefit by developing the skill of investing going forward. Positive financial outcomes will depend in large part on growing that nest egg into a much more substantial fund for getting happily through the many years ahead.

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