Managing Finances after Divorce: Should You Keep the House?

Carefully managing your money can be a balancing act. This is especially true for those who have just gone through a divorce. And things can get even more complicated when divorce occurs after 50. Black Enterprise spoke with TIAA-CREF Certified Financial Planner Shelly-Ann Eweka for more insight into managing your money after you say “I don’t.” Here is the third and final part of that interview.

BE: How can married couples protect their assets just in case they decide to divorce later on?

EWEKA: If you’re already married, you could consider getting a postnuptial agreement. So you and your spouse can decide to seek an attorney’s advice. Talk about what your assets are and what you want to protect. Another way to protect assets is through trust planning, especially if you’re going to be receiving any gifts or a large inheritance. You may want to ask whoever is considering giving you a gift to give it to you through a trust.

BE: Does it matter who gets the house? Why or why not?

EWEKA: It definitely matters. However, you have to remember to separate the emotion from the process. You definitely want to make sure that you have the means to take over the upkeep and maintenance of the house, the mortgage, property taxes, and the overall general responsibilities that come with home ownership. You also have to evaluate how keeping the home will affect some of your other financial goals. You have to make sure you have enough income or cash flow to cover some of your other expenses besides maintenance of the home. So it does matter who keeps the home. And this is often an area where it’s difficult to separate the emotion from that decision. So it’s important to be realistic and seek the help of a financial planner, because you may not be able to make that decision on your own.

BE: What else should divorce couples keep in mind when it comes to finances?

EWEKA: After you get a divorce you want to also pay attention to your health insurance. If you were on your spouse’s health coverage, if you are working, make sure you take up your employer’s health coverage. However, if you are not employed, you want to make sure that you make the decision to get coverage. Check your state’s website for information on different coverage plans.

Read part two of this interview here.