Many married women may not have paid enough attention to the joint finances until the issue of a divorce comes up. One divorce counselor claims that nine out of every 10 women she works with had not paid adequate attention to their marital assets until a divorce required them to do so. This is not a state of affairs limited to any particular region or income level; Utah women, like women everywhere, should be mindful of what’s going on financially even if things are going well in the marriage.

In a marriage, both parties should remain informed regarding what’s going on money-wise. When one party in a marriage remains somewhat in the dark about the finances, it can sometimes be the result of a lack of adequate financial literacy. Modern finances can become quite complex and one partner may prove to be more adept at staying on top of things while the other finds it easier to simply defer the responsibility.

In a divorce, however, financial matters become a critical issue and have a bearing on the final outcome of alimony, property division, and child support payments. Women involved in a divorce should look to their own best interests by having a working knowledge of their own needs and their soon-to-be ex-spouse’s ability to meet those needs. Unfortunately, many women find themselves in a frightening situation when a divorce causes them to think about matters such as basic financial survival for the first time.

Understanding The Big Picture and the needs of the future – especially if children are involved – is an important part of any divorce settlement. Women in Utah and across the country will be better served by a realistic awareness of both marital assets and the role they play in providing for a fair settlement. This can, of course, be rather challenging if the husband has maintained the greater control and awareness regarding these issues throughout the marriage. It is in the best interests of any woman to learn how to become as savvy as possible in these matters, either on her own or by working with those who can best help her to obtain a fair and adequate settlement.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Voices: Christine Palmer Hennigan, on Working with Women Pre- and Post-Divorce,” Christine Palmer Hennigan, June 25, 2013

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