Divorce is an emotional time for many couples in Pennsylvania. It signals the ending of an era in their life that was built on the promise of a lifetime commitment. For some people, leaving their partner is a welcome relief, but the instances in a marriage that led to this relief may create room for sadness as well. As couples grapple with these emotions, dealing with money issues can feel like adding insult to injury. However, it is a necessary part of the divorce process.
For some people, the first rational step in a divorce is separation. This may be a trial run or the couple may opt for this if they cannot get an immediate divorce. Some states do have waiting periods based on the reason the marriage ended. During this time, the spouses live apart and will need to learn how to manage their own finances.
NerdWallet advises people to start with a new budget. In the past, one or two incomes supported one household, and for the most part, one set of expenses. Now, two incomes — or one — may need to support two households and two separate sets of expenses. Because of this, exes may also need to communicate about finances. They need to make arrangements, for how to split the bills. Who will keep up with what portion of the mortgage? Will one person still pay insurance for both vehicles?
When a couple is ready to divorce, MarketWatch recommends reconsidering their cash flow needs. The spouse who does not need immediate cash flow may opt to take valuable but less liquid assets in the separation instead of trying to split all assets down the middle. This may include stocks, mutual funds and bonds.
There may also be the need to refinance loans. A couple may agree to tackle repaying some debts on their own, but what happens if one spouse fails to meet that obligation. They may lose their job or pass away, and then, the other person on the loan becomes liable. A much safer approach may be to refinance the loan. This costs money up front, but may save money later on for the person no longer liable.
Finally, consider the tax implications. Different types and classes of assets come with different tax obligations. How and when a couple splits certain accounts and any early withdrawals may trigger not just taxes but penalties. Keep this in mind when deciding who gets what and whether it is best to wait until before or after the divorce is finalized.