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Financial Questions to Ask Yourself During Divorce by Age

What financial questions or considerations should a person be asking or making when divorcing in their 20s? Their 30s? What about the 40s, 50s, and 60s? While many of the questions below may apply across the board, here are a few key questions to ask yourself depending on your age range at the time of your divorce:

If you're in your 20s:

  • Do we fully understand which assets are separate vs. marital property subject to division?
  • Were we married long enough for spousal support or maintenance to come into play?
  • Does either of us have professional education debts or significant credit card debt? If so, do we know how to classify it?
  • Are there children involved whose best interests need to be considered in our financial decisions?
  • If we have a marital home, do we have a game plan for what happens to it? Is the plan realistic?

If you're in your 30s:

  • Do we have children whose best interests need to be considered in our financial decisions?
  • If we have a marital home, do we have a game plan for what happens to it? Is the plan realistic?
  • If the marriage was not long-term and has no implications on spousal support, what are my plans for future income generation?
  • What are the tax implications of child and spousal support?
  • Are short-term post-divorce changes required to adjust to the new financial picture?

If you're in your 40s:

  • If we have children, do their ages impact child support? Do we have savings that were intended to be used for college education or other investments that must be considered?
  • If we have a marital home, do we have a game plan for what happens to it? Is the plan realistic?
  • If I wasn't the primary income earner in the marriage, do I have income earning potential? How might that impact spousal maintenance?
  • Considering the pending changes in my financial situation, do I need to develop a post-divorce financial plan to get back on track for retirement?

If you're in your 50s:

  • What significant career or business assets have we obtained? This includes but is not limited to businesses, defined benefit plans, and executive compensation assets. Do our assets require valuation and characterization as marital vs. separate property?
  • How will we strategically divide accumulated assets to maximize outcome and minimize the cost of additional services required to divide assets (e.g. selling costs, QDROs, etc.)?
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If you're in your 60s or older:

  • When will retirement benefits begin paying out, and how might property division decisions impact this?
  • How will my divorce impact my Social Security benefits?
  • Do we understand how life insurance policies will be treated?