What Are You Entitled To In Your Divorce?
Women want to know what they're going to get in their divorce settlements.
Of course, every divorce is different and the specifics of the laws vary from state to state. Many states follow "equitable distribution" rules, while a handful of states are "community property" states. This distinction will impact what you are entitled to in your divorce.
So... how this turns out for you could be different from how it turns out for your girlfriend or neighbor. But let's talk in general...
Fearful and angry husbands will say mean things during a divorce.
As a forensic accountant for more than 25 years, I've heard it all.
I know that you'll hear things like:
- You’ll never get a penny from me!
- The 401(k) is all mine.
- You will never be able to touch my pension!
- I worked and earned all of the money while you just stayed at home with the kids.
- I bought this house and everything in it. It's mine!
- You won’t get any alimony or child support.
- I'll quit my job before I pay you a dime.
- You contributed nothing, so you get nothing.
It's not true.
If you signed a prenuptial agreement (a “prenup”) before you got married, you may have given up some rights to assets or to spousal support. But if you didn’t sign one, then you are mot likely entitled to a share of the marital assets.
What is marital money?
Money that was earned or saved during the marriage.
Money that either of you earned during the marriage is part of the marital estate, and so is anything that was bought or saved out of that money you each earned during the marriage. This includes the house, furniture, cars, savings accounts, investments, and retirement accounts. They belong to BOTH of you.
There may be things that you are NOT entitled to get a share of in the marriage, and the same could go for your husband. For example, if you receive an inheritance and keep it in a separate account, your husband most likely will not be able to touch that in the divorce.
Assets that either of you had before you got married might not be part of the marital estate too, but how that works out will depend on your state's laws. If you have a prenup, some of the assets or income could also be excluded.
It is important to also remember that debts are divided in the divorce too. So if a loan was taken out or a credit card was run up, you will probably be responsible for part of that debt in the divorce.
What about a business that is owned by your husband?
Before you agree to any divorce settlement, you will need to know how much that business is worth. You should have a business valuation done to find out the value of the business.
Too many women walk away from their share of the business without even knowing what it is worth. Or her ex tries to entice her to settle by saying that she can keep the family home if she doesn't touch the business. But if you don't know how much the house and the business are each worth, you could be getting cheated.
Don't let him bully you into agreeing to something like this without all of the information.
Spousal support is often a very intense topic during divorce.
The issues of spousal support (sometimes called alimony or maintenance) and child support get people very emotional. Are you entitled to receive support? For how long? How much? Will you be able to survive financially?
Spousal support is not automatic. You have to ask for it and you have to prove how much is needed. In some states, spousal support is very difficult to get. It is also difficult (sometimes impossible) to get spousal support for short term marriages. These can be difficult facts to hear.
Support issues are such an important part of the divorce settlement. And because support payments don't last forever, it's critical that you think beyond just your current expenses and plan for the future.
How will the money be divided?
Start by making a list of your marital assets and debts. Keep track of who is getting which account or item, and add up the total value that each of you is getting. In the end, one of you may end up making an "equalization payment" to the other to even things out.
The ultimate goal is for you to get the best possible financial settlement in your divorce so you can move on post-divorce with financial freedom and security.
I like how there are videos that lay out each step and really explain what the process will be. Although the divorce process itself is overwhelming, the Divorce Money Guide is comforting.
The Divorce Money Guide helped me go into court to face my ex with my confidence. I had my proof and I got my money.
The Divorce Money Guide
This Is Your Key To Finding Hidden Money & Assets
This Guide walks you through everything you need to know to find out exactly what your family's money was spent on and to uncover hidden financial fraud in your marriage.