In many marriages, spouses split responsibilities and take on different roles. For instance, you might manage your children and the home as the primary caregiver while your spouse manages finances as the primary income earner.
Under these circumstances, it can be easy to feel scare about what to expect in the event of a divorce. This can be especially true when it comes to finances because your spouse might have more knowledge of and control over the finances than you have. However, you can protect yourself and level the playing field by understanding a few key things.
As a community property state, this means each spouse is entitled to half of the marital property. All the assets accumulated by either party during the marriage will generally be eligible for distribution. Whether you were the one who collected the paycheck or not won't matter.
With some exceptions, spousal maintenance, or alimony, can be available if you will lack sufficient property upon divorce and you were married for at least 10 years. In other words, if you won't be able to reasonably support yourself after a divorce, you could petition the courts for maintenance. How much you may receive and the duration of payments will depend on the details of your specific situation.
You don't have to be a financial expert to navigate complex financial issues in your divorce. You can retain the services of professionals like financial analysts or accountants who can investigate, appraise and categorize assets to ensure you have an accurate picture of the marital estate. You can also have an attorney by your side to help you secure a satisfactory settlement in mediation or the courtroom.
These brief reminders can alleviate some of the concerns you might have about the financial elements of divorce if you are not the breadwinner and do not have the same understanding of your financial situation as your spouse might have.
It is critical not to lose hope if you feel your spouse has a financial advantage heading into a divorce. With legal guidance and an understanding of your legal rights, you can fight for the fair settlement you deserve.