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Avoiding financial surprises in a divorce

Some Florida women whose marriages are ending might be financially unprepared. A survey conducted by the online marketplace Worthy found that almost half of women who were divorced said they encountered financial surprises in the process.

Many women are surprised to learn that alimony is temporary or that child support will not last as long as they expected. Others are surprised by how much health insurance or the divorce will cost them. Some assume they will be able to keep the home when they cannot. Some women who have not been working outside the home do not anticipate having to return to work. The amount of debt that has accumulated during the marriage may come as a surprise to some.

More women under 55 than those 55 and older reported financial surprises in the divorce, and more younger than older women also said they had been less involved in the family finances. Women who did not participate much in the family finances might struggle to manage money on their own. Whatever financial role a woman had in the marriage, understanding the family finances is critical. People need to know what the couple's worth is and what their expenses are.

The process of property division in a divorce may be stressful whether or not a person is familiar with the family finances. However, with mediation, which is mandatory in Florida contested divorce proceedings, a couple might be able to come to an agreement without having to go to litigation. While litigation is an adversarial process, mediation focuses on hearing both sides and working to resolve conflict and reach a solution that suits both parties. Attorneys may be involved in the mediation process, and people may want to discuss their financial goals with their attorney before proceeding.

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