Money can’t buy happiness; we’ve all heard that before. And while it’s true, the reality is that finances are important in a break up and when done well, can make it smoother and happier for all involved.
In many cases, money ends up becoming a battle ground and the central focus of a divorce. Everyone wants to get their fair share, and this leads to other elements fading into the background, when maybe the emotional pain should be front and centre.
The Cost of Children
Of course, money matters when it comes to child support. You want your divorce to affect your children as little as possible, so they can continue the same education, activities, and standard of living as much as possible.
More often than not, one parent has a better idea of the costs of raising children than the other and that is the parent who spends more time looking after them. The other parent might be the one bringing in the bigger income. During the breakup, the parent with the larger income doesn’t always know exactly how much they spend on their children, and may be shocked when the numbers are presented to them. They may then refuse to pay that amount, thinking that their partner is trying to get money for themselves, or mismanaging money, but ultimately these arguments only hurt their children.
To circumvent your children losing out, clear communication and transparency are so important.
When you spend time arguing about money, you also spend money. Going to court requires time and lawyers, and that costs dollars.
In the end, you’ll more than likely walk away with even less. This can cause added stress when both parties struggle financially as a result. Stopping your former partner from getting what they want isn’t always a win, especially when you walk away with less as well.
Money (Not) on my Mind
The financial work in the MELCA collaborative process helps to make money less of an issue. A neutral financial planner works with each couple to make the family’s finances clear to everyone. They lay out what you have and what you owe, and work out financial goals and plans for both parties and their children, if applicable. This way, no one feels like they are being cheated out of anything, and everyone is clear on what is needed to continue living the best life for their family.
Clearing the air and making everyone aware of what is going on with the finances, removes a lot of hostility and conflict. When everyone is informed and agrees on where money should be going, it leaves them free to discuss other matters with a clear head.
Emotional, parenting and legal matters can be attended to without anyone feeling cheated or bitter, if the money talk has been done well. When problems are approached with this headspace, it leads to more productive and family friendly outcomes.
It also removes much animosity, which makes the emotional challenges easier. A lot of stress and anger is taken out of the equation, meaning that both parents and their children come out the other side of a breakup happier and healthier.
So yes, money matters. Not in that it’s the most important element of a divorce, but by sorting it out, you’re able to focus on the things that really do matter.