Divorce can hurt the pocketbook in ways that some people don’t expect.
Lost income, child support, spousal support all hurt. But there are other ways divorce affects finances, said Samantha Fraelich, vice president of Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, a Chevy Chase, Md., wealth-management firm. Here are five of them:
• Legal expenses: Be prepared to spend thousands of dollars on legal expenses, even if the divorce is amicable. If it’s contested, expect to spend much more.
• Child-care expense: Without another parent in the household, divorced parents often need to pay more for child care than they expected.
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• Taxes: Going from married, filing jointly, to single filing status can significantly increase taxes.
• Retirement planning: Without two people contributing, retirement-planning expenses can increase after divorce. Pension, IRA and 401(k) distributions will often be significantly lower, too. “It is usually helpful to get a retirement plan run by a professional before you actually sign divorce paperwork,” Fraelich said.
• Insurance: Because married people expect their spouses to care for them as they age, they may not have thought about long-term-care insurance. After a divorce, it may be important for people to purchase those policies.
“Most people don’t realize the depths of what divorce can do when it comes to their finances,” Fraelich said. “It is usually a matter of much more than a loss of salary or income.”