Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Taking the right steps with finances during a divorce

In Louisiana, divorce proceedings involve numerous decisions over legal matters such as child custody and property division. These matters are often emotional, but should not stop the cold financial calculations that may help protect a family's future and assure that their needs are met.

Property division can have long-term consequences and speedy decisions should be avoided. Deciding ownership of the home, for example, may involve emotional attachment instead of its potential costs. However, home ownership may be one of the assets that is unreasonably expensive because of taxes and maintenance.

Oftentimes, one spouse keeps the home while the other spouse receives cash. Instead, spouses may consider joint ownership of the house until it may be sold, because it is a non-liquid asset that cannot be converted into cash easily. Both spouses can share expenses for its upkeep and share the cash proceeds after its sale to cover unplanned expenses, emergencies and a changing lifestyle.

Once the decree is issued, a party needs to create a new financial and investment plan for financial security. This should involve a review of past financial decisions and post-divorce lifestyle changes. A spouse will need to have financial flexibility after their marriage is over. Large purchases should be avoided until the financial and budget plan is completed.

Spouses should also develop their own sources of information. Many times, only one spouse possessed

most of the knowledge on the couple's assets and debts, while the other spouse was essentially unfamiliar with these matters. As soon as possible, a spouse should obtain financial documents and seek the assistance of a financial planner or accountant to learn about the couple's financial condition and to develop a plan.

Source: Forbes, "How to handle financial planning during a divorce: 4 steps to protect yourself," By Joel Johnson, Dec. 8, 2017

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