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Why happy couples should plan for divorce

Many divorces in Massachusetts affect married partners who never expect this issue to arise. However, planning for divorce doesn't mean that it has to become a reality. Many of the financial issues that make divorces messy can be just as troublesome for a couple that continues to stay together until death. Good financial management can serve as insurance against divorce or in case the marriage ends.

One of the most common financial challenges for those who end up facing divorce litigation is not knowing the financial state of affairs. In many cases, one party will handle the bill paying and account management. However, divorce could leave an uninformed partner at a disadvantage during financial decisions. The couple that never divorces could equally be affected by one-sided knowledge, especially if the financially savvy party dies or becomes incapacitated. It is crucial that both partners take responsibility for understanding relevant money matters.

It is also important to be aware of one's rights before signing important financial documents. While co-signing a home loan might make sense, signing a document that puts a home's title into one name rather than two could be risky. Similarly, a spouse should not sign a document that removes their rights to the other party's retirement assets. Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements should be reviewed by lawyers before either party signs to ensure that their rights and responsibilities are clearly understood.

The financial aspects of divorce can be the most contentious. However, a lawyer may provide some less argumentative approaches to navigating the necessary financial decisions. In some cases, collaborative methods may allow for partners to arrive at an acceptable arrangement that can be formalized by their lawyers. Mediation is another option that could provide for an agreement outside of the court setting. In cases involving partners who are unwilling to work together, a judge may need to finalize issues such as child support and alimony.

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