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Divorce can reveal lack of financial skills in one partner

Many Virginia residents have heard at least one divorce horror story. Typically, one spouse leaves the financial decisions and tasks to the other. When the marriage ends, one person does not get the financial settlement that was expected, especially when the couple had a lot of assets. Advisers recommend that spouses play an equal role in handling money. In the event of a divorce, the participation of both people in their joint financial life could build the foundation for a fair and equitable resolution.

The funding of retirement accounts represents one area where both spouses should participate. Individual financial planning like this could reduce problems during a divorce, but a couple should not fixate on the potential for splitting. The spouses should see it as a way to plan successfully for a future together.

When one spouse does not participate in money matters, a divorce could produce unhappy surprises. The story of one woman in an affluent marriage illustrates this point. For nearly three decades, she had worked as a stay-at-home mother. Her husband enjoyed considerable financial success, but, when he moved on from his marriage, she discovered that most of the money had been placed into complex business investments, many of which failed. Her divorce resulted in a lower than expected share of the money.

A person confronted by the prospect of a divorce might choose to consult an attorney about how the law might apply to the division of property and spousal support. An attorney could review the financial records, including real estate and business investments. In a high-asset divorce, a prenuptial agreement might also be in place, but these types of agreements can often be successfully challenged depending upon the circumstances of how and when it was signed.

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