Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Conflict resolution may avoid financial errors during divorce

Navigating a divorce through all its facets under Massachusetts laws is likely a traumatic experience for anyone involved. In addition to possible concerns about child custody, the financial implications during the time leading up to the divorce and afterward need to be addressed adequately. Failure to pay the necessary attention to detail of financial agreements may adversely impact the lives of both parties post-divorce. This area is known to cause a fair amount of contention, and the guidance of a mediator who is experienced in marital conflict resolution may be invaluable.

In collaboration with each spouse's attorney, a mediator will facilitate financial agreements to benefit both parties. Divorcing couples will have to consider the added expenses of two households, and with professional assistance, two separate budgets can be prepared. It is not uncommon for both parties to have to scale back and sell the family home in order to afford two separate residences. Well-drafted budgets will indicate how much can be spent on each home.

Another matter that may cause contention is marital debts. Creditors are unaffected by a couple's choice to divorce, and jointly owned debts remain the responsibility of both parties. Payments on debts must continue during divorce proceedings, and agreements may be reached concerning the responsibilities of each party for maintaining payments post-divorce. Failure to do this may be detrimental to the credit ratings of both parties.

Under the equitable distribution laws of Massachusetts, divorcing couples may agree on how to divide the property in a fair manner that will satisfy the court. Conflict resolution may be required during these negotiations to resolve disputes that may arise. With the assistance of a mediator and both attorneys, a divorce agreement may be reached that will protect the interests of both parties.

Source: ahwatukee.com, "Financial mistakes to avoid during divorce", Lisa Monnette, April 15, 2015

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