Common Financial Mistakes Dads Make in Divorce

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In an earlier post we shared an article that had some key financial tips geared toward women getting a divorce. Today, we share an article that focuses on financial tips for men going through divorce.

First, do not underestimate the cost of divorce. It seems that men more than women can resent the cost of divorce, if for no other reason than historically men have been the principal breadwinner in the household, which means men have more financial obligations to a former spouse.

Second, do not go into denial about maintenance. Because of the sensitivity to cost, men may resist having to pay maintenance and wonder why the former spouse cannot obtain suitable employment, even if she has been out of the workforce for some time due to childrearing. Men should understand that women may need maintenance, but that it may later be modified after sufficient time has passed for the former spouse to secure employment to cover her reasonable needs. In the meantime, remember that maintenance is tax deductible, so it could have significant benefits depending on your marginal tax rate. On the flip side, men who are not the principal earner should not shy away from asking for maintenance if necessary under the circumstances (though be wary that receiving maintenance is considered income for tax purposes).

Third, take a financial inventory for life post-divorce and create a reasonable plan for expenses given new obligations. It can feel daunting having to pay for one and a half households at the outset, but if you work it out on paper in advance you can better assure yourself you can afford a particular financial settlement.

Fourth, do not let guilt or emotions control asset division. Men just as women need to be sure that they protect themselves for retirement or in case of disability. Sacrificing larger portions of retirement benefits or other long-term assets for shorter term payments like maintenance could be a serious financial mistake.

Finally, do not make impulsive decisions. Your financial future is at stake – you need to be thinking calmly, clearly and rationally, not from negative emotions.

If you have questions about financial issues and divorce, contact us – we can help.

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