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While a family’s emotional well-being may be the biggest concern in a divorce, ending a marriage can also bring financial challenges. A person’s income and other assets can be cut in half, and debt can stack up quickly.

If you are considering a divorce, knowledge and preparation are the best ways to protect yourself from the potential negative financial impacts that can result from the process. First, it’s essential to know what issues you may face.

Possible financial obligations

Two of the most common financial issues in a divorce include:

  • Child support: The state of Pennsylvania sets the amount, which largely depends upon both parents’ incomes, the number of children affected and the terms of the custody agreement. It’s a legal obligation and must be factored into a budget, whether you are paying or receiving.
  • Alimony: Spousal support can be a temporary measure to aid an ex-spouse whose income level shrinks drastically after a divorce. It is not the same as child support, both can be adjusted periodically, and both typically have end dates.

Division of marital property

In some cases, a pre-nuptial agreement dictates the division of marital property. However, when a pre-nup doesn’t exist, the state ultimately decides how assets are divided. Pennsylvania is an “equitable distribution” state, but that doesn’t mean it will be a 50/50 split. A judge will consider several factors to conclude how to divide property. First, do your homework and gather information on all your marital assets, including:

  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Your spouse’s income
  • House and mortgage information
  • Cars and boats
  • Life insurance with cash value
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs
  • Retirement plans
  • Stock options
  • Tax refunds

Protect your future with advice from a family law specialist

In addition to a complete list of your assets, document all debt you share with your spouse, such as loans and credit card balances. That knowledge, as well as advice from an experienced family law attorney here in Pennsylvania, can protect your rights and help you achieve a fair settlement and a brighter future. Your attorney can also aggressively litigate your divorce in court if necessary.