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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Understanding Divorce

BOSTON (CBS) - Divorce is a legal and financial process. And because it usually involves two angry people, it can be an extremely volatile process.

  • Second marriages don't fare much better with almost 70% (67%) ending in divorce
  • Third marriages; over 70% (74%) end up divorcing
  • Average age of first marriages ending in divorce is 30
  • New studies are showing that children do suffer much more trauma than originally thought after a divorce
  • Massachusetts appears to have one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation based on population

I'm not sure you should go into your marriage thinking you will be ending it, but you should do some planning. If you are the spouse that does not handle the money in your family, you should be looking over the shoulder of the spouse that does. Marriage is a financial as well as an emotional partnership. So what should you know?

  • Understand what the family assets are and where they are.
  • How are the assets owned? His? Hers? Jointly?
  • What's the family income?
  • What are the family's expenses?
  • What assets did you bring into the marriage?

When getting a divorce use a divorce attorney, not the attorney who helped you close on the house. Don't use the same attorney as your spouse and don't use the same financial planner. No advisor can serve two masters well.

Matrimonial law is a $28 billion a year industry. Divorces don't come cheap! Divorce attorneys in Massachusetts on average charge $350 an hour. Consider using a mediator before bringing in the big guns. This will save you money and money often is the biggest issue in a divorce. Many divorces cost more than the wedding.

Make a list of the stuff that is important to you and how are you going to share them. Such as children, real estate, assets, retirement plans, pension plans, stock options, furniture, pets etc. Pets are considered property and may not be subject to visitation rights or shared custody.

One more thing:  Get some counseling for the kids. They often think the divorce is their fault. Love is grand. Divorce is about 20 grand.

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