Everyone has a relationship to money. People are either spenders or savers; stingy or generous. What people preview to a potential mate could either be their genuine money selves, or a restricted version of themselves in so far as the way they handle money. There are times when people hide their debt from the other person until they’re married; at which time the more conservative spouse will pay the less conservative spouse’s outstanding debt in order to start the marriage with no debt. But unless the reason for over spending is addressed, the debt will renew itself – and quickly.
But then there’s the person who is so over protective about money, that they don’t share the family’s financial portfolio with their spouse; insist on handing the taxes themselves in order to keep their spouse in the dark about family money; may provide their spouse with a small allowance; or refuse as best they can not to divide financial assets in the divorce. This is not a healthy relationship to money, which leads to an unhealthy marriage and very difficult divorce.
If you are married to the person who kept family investments a secret, and doesn’t want to divide assets, you might be better suited to hiring a lawyer instead of going to a document preparation company or a mediator because you might need the legal framework of the law and the strength of an attorney to comply with the community property laws of your state. A document preparation company can only prepare documents for filing. They can’t stand up for the disenfranchised person; they can only take their clients’ decisions and document them correctly.
If decisions to not divide available assets are made just to end the divorce process and move on, please make sure this isn’t something you’ll regret. And please don’t release assets while putting yourself in a tough financial position. If you have an attorney who is trying to help with the division of assets, and this process is negatively impacting the co-parenting, you have to make a value decision for quality of life for you and your children.
These are complicated situations that have to be well thought out. Take your time considering the pros and cons of how you leave the marriage financially. Make sure it comports with your values, your priorities, and your self-worth. Ask yourself this question: What decision will make me feel proud of myself, enable met to live without fear of supporting myself, and allow the co-parenting relationship, if there are children, to be the best it can be.
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