Divorce talk, often justly, revolves around the children. But what if your marriage is ending and you don’t have any children? Is it just a matter of signing some papers and splitting property down the middle?
The answer is both yes and no. The primary concerns are dissolving the marriage and splitting property, but a legal process is never a simple one and property holdings are rarely so keenly divided. The state of Colorado offers this flowchart of the many steps and forms to be filed, which at quick glance shows that the process in complex and detailed.
Uncontested today doesn’t mean uncontested tomorrow
If assets are simple and the marriage is relatively new, doing it yourself might be an option but it is never advised. In maneuvering through a laundry list of paperwork, you don’t want to miss an old pair of socks only to find them in the corner later on, all musty and smelly. Most self-prepared divorces rely on an amiable relationship between the couple. This may be the case upon filing, but scenarios and lifestyles change and there’s no guarantee that something may not rise to become an issue further down the road, even if you don’t have children and can’t foresee future interaction.
Assets include inheritance and estate plans
When reviewing assets, most couple first look at the immediate and obvious goods: cars, bank accounts, the house or condo, and all the items you’ve collected over the years. The more abstract and ever-changing accounts are overlooked: pensions, IRAs and investment portfolios, life insurance policies, and inheritance from families.
All of the above are complex assets that can’t simply be cut in half and distributed. Inheritance typically follows the bloodline in a divorce, but there may be instances where in-laws have formed strong bonds that challenge the notion. Not only does this challenge distribution of assets, but it creates drama within a family beyond the divorcing couple.
Mediators offer another opinion
Even if it feels agreeable, professional mediators present alternate viewpoints, professional experience and advice, and flexible schedules. Getting a divorce is a stressful time of your life. Even in the rare instance that you are child free and both parties agree on the process, you’ll be moving to a new home, likely purchasing a new vehicle and all kinds of living essentials — maybe even changing jobs. Having a mediator will free important head space for getting your new life established and ensure that you aren’t just getting through a tough time in your life, you’re looking ahead.