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Avoiding pitfalls to help ensure financial security after divorce

Statistics suggest that women across the country -- including many here in New Jersey -- who end their marriages often end up in financial distress. According to one source, a woman's income will drop approximately 27 percent in the first year after the divorce. In contrast, a man's income could actually increase nearly 10 percent.

This inequality could be the result of several pitfalls that seem to plague women during a divorce. The first is that many women allow their emotions to drive their actions during the divorce proceedings. The urge just to get to the end and be done with it can cause women -- and men, as well -- to make bad decisions during settlement negotiations. They do not often consider the long-term ramifications of the choices they make under these circumstances.

Second, there still seems to be an inequity in the way that the household finances are handled. Men tend to take care of them, and many women are just not aware of the whole financial picture. It should be noted, however, that there are an increasing number of families in which the woman handles the finances, which could mean that the husband is the one who is not aware of where the parties are financially. This puts them at a disadvantage since they might not be aware of what encompasses the marital estate. It might also be easier for the other party to hide assets since the other party might not know the difference.

It is advisable to put emotions on the back burner and gather as much financial information as possible prior to filing for divorce. This will help to ensure that New Jersey residents are prepared to negotiate a settlement or make requests of the court, as the case may be. In addition, having a clear head can help the parties to focus on the future and what will be needed in order to start their new lives instead of just trying to finish the process as quickly as possible.

Source:, "What Women Must Know About Money and Divorce", Stacey Tisdale, June 9, 2016

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