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Market Volatility & Divorce

Mikayla Shearer

Financial stress and concerns over money are leading causes of divorce. The global concern over COVID-19 has influenced Wall Street creating a volatile market which can have a significant impact on marriages.

The worldwide concern over the coronavirus has affected many aspects of our lives, not the least of which is our finances. The fears over a major global health crisis spurred on volatility within the markets as the 10-year Treasury yield hit an all-time low last week and share prices fell. Wall Street has taken a hit that has not been seen in several years and there are reports that a recession is looming.

It is no surprise that financial hardship creates stress in many marriages. Financial problems are a leading cause of divorce. Arguments can ensue over a spouse unilaterally making investment decisions with marital savings or a spouse attributing blame to their partner for market volatility beyond their control. Whatever the situation, you want to make sure that you have a firm understanding of your financial situation, where your money is at, and where your partner may transfer it to.

In many marriages, one spouse oversees the investments, payment of bills, and the balancing of the checkbook. Often, many are blindsided when they are served with divorce papers and upon checking their financials see that the bank accounts have been emptied and their investments transferred just days prior to their spouse filing a divorce action. That is the situation however that many have unfortunately faced at the onset of a divorce.

Once a divorce is filed, a temporary injunction is put in place by the Court preventing spouses from transferring assets or emptying out the joint bank account. Many attempt to circumvent this injunction by, just days prior to filing a divorce action, transferring joint marital assets into an individual account so that their spouse no longer has access to the funds. This can cause significant hardship to the spouse that was uninvolved in the marital finances who are then left with a lengthy court action ahead of them and no immediate funds in which they have access.

Tips on Becoming More Involved in Your Finances

  1. Make sure that you have access to all your financial accounts. Ask your partner to provide you with the passwords and log on information to have electronic access or contact the financial institution in charge of your accounts and ask to establish your own login and password
  2. Suggest weekly or monthly meetings with your partner to go over your finances and jointly establish financial goals
  3. Attend all meetings with any financial advisors for your accounts
  4. Make sure to review your monthly credit card and loan statements
  5. Monitor your property values. If you believe a divorce may be on the horizon, in addition to monitoring the present property values also check on the property values prior to your marriage
  6. Let your partner know you want to be involved in where funds are invested and take affirmative steps in making sure that happens
  7. Update your will and other legal documents

Knowledge = Peace of Mind

While knowledge is power, more importantly, knowledge provides peace of mind – an invaluable asset. Knowing where your money is invested and having the proper safeguards in place is critical. If you believe that divorce may be on the horizon, we recommend getting a good understanding on your current investments and savings before it’s too late.

Our legal team at The Harris Law Firm has extensive experience handling matters involving divorce, marital property, and asset and debt division. Contact usto speak with an attorney.

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