Money has emotion attached to it. Money represents security and safety. Lack of money means insecurity and fear. Divorce means money will be split up. Splitting one pot of money into two pots of money creates emotion, and rarely are these emotions positive.
For many in divorce, it’s a surprise that their 401k is a marital asset. This happened to me. I had worked hard to save the money in my work retirement plan and I was proud of what I had managed to put aside. With an ex who was a small business owner, that retirement nest-egg was critical. When it came time to split up, however, I wanted to hold on to what I felt was my retirement. In my mind, it was mine! In reality, it was not mine, it was a marital asset and subject to being split in the divorce. This misunderstanding on my part caused me to have angst and to feel anger, which complicated the negotiations and created more acrimony.
This is, sadly, an unfortunate and common scenario. For many, the money they have saved in their work retirement account is the bedrock of their retirement plan. Losing any of it causes insecurity and fear, which in turn causes anger, resentment and the possibility of a protracted fight in divorce court, aggravating the process and costing even more money with professionals.
The bottom line is this: be aware that any savings accumulated in the course of a marriage is a marital asset and subject to be split in divorce.
Work to put your emotions aside as you make decisions that will impact your future, your soon-to-be-exes future and possibly your children’s futures.
Money represents security. In the process of divorce, look for the ways to create and rebuild two new foundations for security where there once was just one. Remember, your family is still a family, even when there are two houses.
To learn more about your divorce process options reach out to one of our experienced St. Louis Collaborative Law Association professionals today.
Laura is a financial professional and former member of CFLA.