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Being in the dark about finances could be an issue in a divorce

Every married couple in Colorado handles finances differently. Sometimes both partners share in the financial decision-making and have an equal understanding of the state of their marital finances. However, some couples delegate such duties to one partner only. While this may seem practical, it does leave the other partner in the dark when it comes to their marital finances, which could become an issue should the couple later divorce.

According to one survey, 59 percent of female respondents who were divorced or widowed stated that they wished they played a greater role in their long-term financial planning while they were married. Of those female divorcees or widows who married a second time, eight out of 10 of them reported playing a greater role in the financial decision-making in their new marriage.

These financial issues often reared their heads when a couple divorced, and the women learned the true state of their finances. Not all the news was bad. Some women found that there were retirement accounts they had a right to that they weren't aware of, or they simply were unaware of the extent of their estate when it came to property division.

However, some of the news was bad, particularly when it was revealed their partner had hidden debts or accounts, or spent money in secret. In fact, of the female respondents who were divorced or widowed, 94 percent reported that if they could go back in time, they would insist on total financial transparency with their partner.

While divorce certainly has an emotional component; it has financial components as well. Sometimes it is arguments about money that lead to the decision to divorce. However, if one partner is much more financially savvy with regards to their marital assets and debts than the other partner, the divorce process can become more complex. When it comes to the division of assets and debts, both parties must put all their cards on the table. There can be no secrets -- no hidden assets, no secret debts.

There could be legal consequences should a spouse fail to be totally transparent when it comes to property and finances during the divorce process. While a divorce is an emotionally difficult time, it is important for both spouses to be honest with one another, so a clean break can be made.

Source: Bloomberg, "Rise of 'Gray' Divorce Forces Financial Reckoning After 50," Suzanne Woolley, April 13, 2018

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