Pre-divorce planning can improve post-divorce financial outlook

For many separating spouses, obtaining a divorce at precisely the optimal time for doing so when taking into consideration the house, the kids, the assets, the debts and so forth isn’t always possible. Every last relevant factor isn’t always taken into account and tidied up prior to a marital dissolution. Sometimes that simply isn’t possible.

Often, though, and with some forethought, divorcing partners can purposefully attend to a number of matters in a way that will serve them both well — especially from a financial standpoint — when they begin their new lives post-divorce.

That is the professional opinion of one financial counselor, Daniela Baker, who advises would-be divorcing parties of “the five best situations to start from.” They include these following points:

Be debt free with credit cards, to the fullest extent possible. As Baker notes, one spouse with a substantial amount of accumulated debt on a card might equate to both spouses being held jointly liable for the debt.

If you own a home, try to divorce during a seller’s market. That seems obvious, but it also seems unlikely at the present time. When times are tough, Baker says the spouses should work things out so that one of them keeps the home.

Watch the credit score, and do what it takes to bump it upwards. A newly divorced person needs a decent score to rent an apartment or buy a new home.

If possible, divorce when the kids are in high school. That will probably keep the child support period relatively short for the paying spouse, and it might also work to the advantage of parents seeking college financial aid for their children (given that financial aid forms sometimes ask only for financial information from the custodial parent).

Related Resource: MSN Money, “The 5 best times to get divorced” Sept. 27, 2011

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