“All good things must come to an end.” We have all heard the saying. It is a bittersweet reality we’ve all had to accept at different times in our lives. For many families, that reality never feels more impactful, emotional, and scary than when a good marriage is over.
Another area in life where this saying is all too true is the economy. While no one can come out and say officially that a recession is upon us, the fear is real. The fear is spreading. The fear is valid. What happens when a good economy seems to be ending at the same time as your marriage?
Money Matters Always Add to Divorce Stress
Divorce is a daunting transition no matter what. Certain family and societal elements can make the decision to file for divorce even harder. The financial impact of divorce is a leading reason why too many men and women choose to stay in unhealthy marriages.
It is wise to consider costs of living and other money matters when ending a marriage, especially when kids are involved. Such financial consideration, however, does not mean divorcing during a tough economy is a bad idea.
Should You Wait Out a Recession Before Getting Divorced?
This is such a big question. First off, it assumes that the U.S. is, in fact, in or on the verge of an economic recession. Some believe it has been such a long run of economic success; therefore, a downturn is only history repeating itself. And those who follow the stock market undoubtedly know how volatile it has been this August.
Based on those realities, and for the sake of being prepared, let’s assume a recession is looming. During a recession, the stock market tends to fall and be less predictable. Also, fewer jobs are available. Workers might get laid off. People lose jobs. Real estate values decrease. Stress levels among most of us increase. Recessions are the hard times we live to tell our grandkids about.
Even during the hard time of a recession, there is the opportunity to find stability and happiness. This applies to both a family’s or person’s financial situation, as well as to a family going through divorce. There is no set answer for all people worried about the economy and wanting to get divorced, but no, it is not necessary to put off divorce because of a recession.
Divorce During Recession Requires Special Focus and Strategy
Obviously, strategy is necessary for all divorces to end well for the parties involved. When a couple divorces during a recession, each person and their divorce attorney will have more specific, crucial financial matters to address:
Where Is your money invested?
This is an important question because of the volatility of the stock market, especially for those couples who have a large portion of their finances invested in the market. If you are getting divorced and know a lot of your money is in the market, it might be a good idea to take out those funds and split them before the market potentially gets worse.
If you are not the spouse who tends to make the investment decisions, you will want to talk to your lawyer about this desire immediately. Your spouse might not want to get divorced or move the money. You can have influence that decision by beginning the divorce process and being candid with your attorney about the financial situation and what you want.
Will You Be Able to Afford Health Insurance?
Before having kids, you assume that keeping a roof over their heads is the biggest financial concern. While that remains a top priority, parenthood quickly teaches you that having health insurance for your kids is a huge (and important) financial burden.
Not only is our economy getting complicated, but the current health insurance system in the U.S. is more complicated – and often more expensive – than it has been in the past. Planning for health insurance coverage and costs during a divorce is a must during a recession. Why? Because unemployment rates can increase. Also, benefits might become less wonderful at your current company.
Many spouses and their children get health coverage through the other parent’s employer. When the parents get divorced, what happens to the health insurance? An ex-spouse cannot be on that same health insurance plan for a long-term period, but larger companies provide a buffer through COBRA. This coverage lasts up to 36 months and can be expensive, but it is still helpful to know that there is an option for you when worrying about whether you will have coverage after divorce.
Children should still be able to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan after divorce. If at least one of the parents gets health benefits through work, the kids can remain covered through that plan. Parents should still discuss how to divide any out-of-pocket medical costs for the kids after divorce.
Communication Paves Way to Recession-Proof Divorce
It will never seem like an ideal time to get divorced, recession or not. When it comes to any of the financial worries of ending a marriage, communicating proactively and honestly with your divorce lawyer is vital. An experienced and trusted attorney will understand your dilemmas and know what steps to take to best ensure your future after divorce is as stable as possible.