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Financial needs of separated couples with children

The perception remains that divorce is too expensive for certain individuals. It's not so much the divorce process itself as the long term obligations of paying alimony or child support, and the fear that the other spouse may be unwilling or unable to abide by what the court has ordered.

A significant amount of couples that have separated - as many as 15 percent - have not filed for divorce within the first ten years of the separation. In particular, its couples that are overwhelmed by the obligations in supporting their children that tends to be most hesitant to actually go through with the divorce process.

There is quite a range in how much couples will actually spend in retaining lawyers and working through the courts to finalize a divorce. However, we need to keep in mind that such matters will be handled in a matter of months, but the decisions made during the divorce process can last for years.

Couples receive financial benefits concerning the filing of tax returns and sharing of health insurance that may not always be available for couples that are divorced. When couples are contemplating divorce, such financial decisions must be taken into account before the divorce is finalized.

Though financial concerns surrounding divorce is understandable, there are risks to separating rather than divorcing. A spouse may still remain liable for the other spouse's debts. There may be questions as to which spouse does or does not own particular shared assets. And most couples that separate eventually divorce in any case.

There's no promise that spouses will take care of their financial obligations towards their children when separated. At least when a divorce stipulation is in place, child custody and alimony debts are legally enforceable.

Especially when Florida parents have children, such parents may wish to communicate questions or concerns to family law attorneys practicing in this state regarding the financial ramifications of having a divorce. There needs to be a long term plan in making sure that a child's needs are met when parents are living apart.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Too Expensive For Poorest Americans, New Study Says," by Catherine New, August 20, 2012

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Plantation, FL 33324

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