Law Office of Mei Nakamoto
Hawaii Divorce And Family Law Attorneys

Planning for daily expenses after divorce

When divorce is on the horizon, it's hard to look at the future with a clear head. There's turmoil about where you'll live, what you'll own and how you'll care for the children. Many couples get caught up in child custody and division of property details while overlooking the basics of daily life.

As you think about the big decisions, the little ones are just as important. The division of property isn't just about retirement accounts and living quarters, it will affect your income and expenses. Most divorcing individuals go from a dual-income household to single-income when they split up. This has a direct effect on quality of living. Studies show that it hits women harder than men.

Men often manage household budgets

While gender roles have changed, women still earn less than men - eighty cents to the dollars, according to 2015 data. Applied to divorce, the data has a real impact on how a single-adult household pays its bills. A report by Key Private Bank lists divorce (or death of a spouse) as one of the top five economic issues that hit women the hardest. Even though more women are in the workforce today--many with college degrees and higher education credentials--many women are not personally involved in the home budget. It becomes a serious issue if there's a change in marital status.

Property division in Hawaii

Like many US states, Hawaii uses an equitable distribution system, which aims for a fair division of assets. Marital property is any property acquired during a marriage, and its value belongs to both partners equally. The court will value your bank accounts, retirement plans, property, vehicles and other assets in the process of distributing shares to each spouse.

Additional factors include when and how you attained property. Separate property is credited to the owner-spouse, or awarded to the owner-spouse if it still exists at the divorce. It may include property that was owned before marriage (including during a period of cohabitation before marriage), anything that was defined in a prenuptial agreement, or property attained as a gift or inheritance to the individual. 

It's not just the monetary value

The impact of the division of marital property and credits can sometimes have a significant impact on the financial status of a spouse after the divorce.

While family court aims at a fair distribution of property, many divorcing couples negotiate a settlement outside of court--this allows personal preference and it allows a chance to weigh the pros and cons that come with certain property. Real estate taxes, mortgage payments and transaction fees of assets from property division add up quickly on a single-income budget. In court-ordered or negotiated divorce outcomes it's important to remember the real life applicaiton of assets, not just their value on paper. An experienced divorce attorney knows where fees and extra costs may add up, and can help you identify what affect that will have on life in a newly single home.

When you're getting a divorce, it's easy to get wrapped up in emotion and to quickly seek closure on the marriage. As you work through the process, you will also need to keep your personal interests in mind. An experienced divorce attorney will objectively evaluate the economic impact of various divorce options to help keep you on course toward your personal goals.

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