The divorce process largely involves deciding how property and other assets will be divided. The Association for Divorce Financial Planners offers guidance to address a common question asked by divorcing couples; “What am I entitled to in divorce?”

The divorce rate in the United States remains relatively steady, but the divorce legal and financial landscape is changing. Divorce professionals across the country are realizing how critical it is to consider the long-term impact of decisions made during divorce.

Traditionally, couples going through divorce have taken a short-term approach. Instead of deciding what each party is entitled to today, they are starting to realize that a thorough analysis of the couples’ financial situation both before and after the divorce results in a better divorce settlement for both parties.

“Most divorcing couples stay connected either financially or through their children for the rest of their lives”, says Carl Palatnik, Executive Vice President of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners. “So it is in everyone’s best interest to come up with the best financial settlement possible.”

Attorneys are often not trained to handle complex financial issues.  Nor are they trained to analyze potential post-divorce financial problems that may result from a divorce settlement.  By bringing in a divorce financial planner early in the divorce settlement process, couples can avoid flawed outcomes that could result in future financial problems.

“Baby boomers are particularly vulnerable because decisions made during divorce can significantly impact retirement.” Says Palatnik, “Simply dividing things like 401K, stock, and savings accounts in half may not be as “fair” as one would think.  There could be tax implications that you may not foresee that could result in a loss of income when you can least afford it.”

The bottom line is that the question, “What am I entitled to in a divorce?” is never easy to answer. It is important to bring in the right advisors early in the divorce process to help you determine if the decisions you make are the right ones.

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