Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Divorce: The ultimate split of love and money

The difficulty that comes with acknowledging that your marriage is beyond repair is unspeakable. Compounding the emotional pain is the process of financially separating yourself from your spouse

Take note of 5 of the financial elements of divorce that will have to be worked through:

1) Division of assets - Outside of the 9 community property states, what you bring into the marriage remains yours. Anything that was acquired during the marriage (except inheritance money) must be divided among the spouses. In a community property state, regardless of when the assets were acquired they can be included in the divorce settlement.

2) Alimony - There are several factors a judge considers when deciding whether to grant alimony. These differ from state to state, of course, but they usually involve things like the parties' relative ability to earn money, both now and in the future; their respective age and health; the length of the marriage; the kind of property involved, and the conduct of the parties. In general, about the only time a judge will award alimony in most states is where one spouse has been economically dependent on the other spouse for most of a lengthy marriage.

3) Child support - a little less than half of those required to pay child support in this country do. However, if the support is part of the legal obligation of the divorce, the payer is subject to prosecution if they don’t fulfill this obligation. Child support is not tax deductible (for the payer) nor taxable income (for the recipient)

4) Insurance - unless otherwise desired, be sure to remove your spouse’s name as the beneficiary on all insurance or retirement accounts. A divorce decree does not absolve them as the beneficiary. The same goes for a will. If you leave something in your spouse’s name they will receive it, divorce or not.

5) You may be asked or required to give some of your retirement money to your spouse upon divorce. This can be negotiated as part of the settlement.

Because of these and other nuances, some people choose to stay married and live separate lives. Although you will avoid the matters above, there are a host of other things to consider, namely that your financial records remain linked with your spouse. If they run up credit card debt for example, it can go on your credit report. On the positive side, if they win the lottery, especially in community property states, you are entitled to up to half of the winnings.

If both spouses are on the same page, divorce can be fast and economical, with no attorneys involved. Here’s hoping that you won’t need this information at all, but if you do, that it will be an amicable situation, especially if kids are involved.

And so it is.