The Financial Realities of Divorce: How to Protect Yourself
Financial protection is one of the biggest worries many of our clients face when divorcing. Divorce can potentially place an undeniable amount of financial burden on both parties, especially if it is a highly contentious divorce. However, even in the most amicable divorces, one should stay smart and ensure financial protection to help build a new and happy future.
Make decisions with an eye toward the future. At first, much of the financial stress divorce brings occurs when first separating from your spouse and dealing with separating your financial lives during the divorce process. It can be easy to make decisions that meet your immediate needs, but may not be the best decision for your financial future five or ten years down the road. For instance, it may not be in your best interest to try and keep your family home if keeping up with the mortgage may prove to be a financial hardship down the road, even if it allows you to stay in your home during the divorce.
Become familiar with a QDRO. The Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court document used to divide qualified retirement plans. While you should hire a skilled attorney to handle this, it would do individuals some good to also have an understanding of this important tool that will ultimately help protect their pension or 401(k) plan.
Change your beneficiaries. Divorce typically nullifies outstanding wills, but people often forget to change the beneficiaries of their retirement plans, life insurance, or other benefits. Is your former spouse the beneficiary of your plan? Change it.
Use a financial planner. A financial planner can work with your attorney to not only educate you on your options, but create a plan that best suits and protects your interests. Having skilled experts at your side is some of the best protection you can provide for yourself.
Ask about financial issues when hiring an attorney. Find a divorce lawyer with experience and knowledge in the financial issues that will come up in your divorce. If you have assets such as business interests, investments, international assets, or other significant assets, your attorney should be well versed in complex property division issues.
Oregon is an equitable distribution state, which means property acquired by either spouse during marriage is marital property and subject to division, including the marital home, vehicles, insurance, and work benefits. However, equitable property division does not mean it has to be a 50-50 split, which is why skilled representation is crucial for achieving fair results.McKinley Irvin has handled numerous financially complex divorce cases with outstanding results. Our Portland divorce lawyers can protect your interests in the division of your marital property and protect your separate property from being wrongfully distributed in divorce. Contact our Portland office at (503) 395-0244.