Does complex property division keep people from getting divorced?
It is doubtful that any of our Maryland readers thinks that a person contemplates divorce as a lighthearted and easy decision. For most people, the decision is gut-wrenching. No matter whether a marriage has lasted one year or 20, divorce essentially results in the complete disintegration of what was once a happy home. But, the fact of the matter is that there are probably just as many people in America who stay unhappily married because they don’t know what to expect from themselves post-divorce. A recent article recognized that one of the biggest overriding problems for these types of people is one of the largest parts of the divorce process: property division.
Regardless of whether the divorce being contemplated will involve complex property division or not, the article noted three uncertainties that can hold a person back. First, there is the uncertainty about whether or not the marital property will be split evenly. Next, there is the fear of not knowing which particular assets each spouse will be left with after the divorce. And lastly, there is the fear of not knowing how dramatically a person’s lifestyle will be changed by going through the divorce process.
Of course, these fears can a non-factor if a couple has a prenuptial agreement, but only a small minority of couples have one of these documents in place. The vast majority of married couples think that they will be together forever, despite the commonly cited statistics that says half of marriages end in divorce. So, these are probably legitimate fears for most people.
Despite that fact, asset division does not always have to be a major hurdle in a divorce. If both spouses come to terms with the process and realize that they won’t get everything they want and compromise will be needed to bring the divorce to a conclusion, that is where the process of moving on with life can begin without overemphasized concerns about the division of property.
Source: CBS Moneywatch, “Divorce financial planner: 3 common fears,” Robert Pagliarini, Aug. 23, 2013