What Does the Public Really Know About Divorce? We Conducted a Survey to Find Out
By Catherine Shanahan, CDFA
My Divorce Solution
At My Divorce Solution we are constantly hearing things from our clients that start with “I had no idea” or “I wish I had known this sooner”. While our goal is to provide our clients with the tools and financial clarity for divorce, we understand that many married couples don’t know the first thing about divorce before going through one. Misinformation can be dangerous and lead to people losing a significant amount of money because the only thing they knew about going through a divorce was from a movie or TV show, or through traces of second-hand knowledge from friends or family.
We were curious about what the public’s perceptions of divorce is so we decided to conduct our own survey sent to more than 200 currently-married people. We looked across gender, age, geography and income level to get a broad understanding. Our findings from the survey offer a glimpse into what people know and don’t know about divorce, allowing us to draw conclusions and help our clients in the future. We wanted to share with you some of our most interesting findings.
FinanceSeveral contributing factors can result in wanting a divorce, however, it’s common for couples to be hesitant about proceeding forward due to financial concerns and a lack of desire in wanting to be organized and prepared. According to our survey, 68% of participants claim that they would not be prepared to take on the financial responsibility of divorce, and 75% are uncertain about how they and their spouse will separate their assets. There are many reasons for this. Couples often focus on their children, and the emotional attachment to certain assets, clouding the impact of those asset and debt division decisions. Another common reason for this confusion is oftentimes one spouse has been in the dark with most financial decisions throughout the marriage and now they are expected to make decisions without knowing the long term effect when faced with divorce.
And there’s the question of how much divorce will cost. In our survey, most people thought that it would be under $25k per spouse or significantly less than that ($5k to $10k, our lowest range, was the top answer). However, in our experience working with married couples who both use an attorney throughout the divorce, the cost can be significantly higher than this, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands depending on how complicated their financial situation is.
The average really varies by the state you live in. According to Findlaw, Some states, such as California, have going rates of over $14,000. However, other states, such as Idaho, have rates starting around $8,000.
Finding the right helpThose who have decided to go through with the divorce will now have another hurdle to go through: Trying to find the right person to hire to ensure that the process goes smoothly. More than 90% of participants stated that the most important professional to have when thinking about divorce is to have an attorney, though 89% don’t think that it is required to have one to proceed with the divorce process. While attorneys are needed to inform you of your legal rights, they may not be the first call you have to make to get the financial and emotional clarity that you need. Very few people we asked considered consulting a financial expert (an advisor, CDFA or CPA) early on. In fact, only 6% said an accountant or financial planner would be the most important professional when thinking about divorce. This was a surprising statistic to us because we strongly believe financial clarity will enable you to decide whether to divorce or not and will empower you make smart financial decisions for you and your family.
The majority of those surveyed agree that they would not at all be prepared to go through a divorce tomorrow. While this doesn’t surprise us, we want to educate everyone, whether they’re considering divorce or not, so they gain financial clarity before filing a divorce. Consulting with a CDFA or acquiring your MDS Financial Portrait™ is the first step to ensuring that you have financial clarity and working with a Divorce Coach could help you assemble the best team of professionals making sure you are prepared for the financial and emotional steps that you about to encounter.
Follow along on our social channels @mydivorcesolution where we are releasing more of our survey findings!
Catherine Shanahan is Co–Founder of My Divorce Solution. With over 30 years of experience in the financial industry, Catherine serves My Divorce Solution Clients as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CFDA) and trained mediator. A Professional Daily Money Manager, Catherine is also a former VP of the Bucks County Collaborative Law Group, American Association of Daily Money Managers, Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA), National Association of Women Business Owners, advisory council of Support Pay,and the Association of Divorce Financial Planners.
As a mom of five and financial expert, Catherine’s experience with divorce left her wishing for better information, better resources, and a better process for the financial separation that comes with divorce. As a result, Catherine co–founded My Divorce Solution –the company she had needed in her divorce.
My Divorce Solution helps clients secure their worth and protect their wealth with the Divorce Financial Portrait. Our Divorce Preparation Platform is a data driven solution that connects your financial assets to the divorce legal system.
See what you can expect from your divorce with our Free Divorce Assessment.
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