In these uncertain times, we all are trying to find our footing and priorities while adjusting to a “new normal.” After ensuring that your children and other loved ones are safe, it is certainly reasonable to think about your financial picture. I am sure you had an idea in your head of what the dollars and cents would look like in your divorce pre-COVID-19. But now, with the upheaval of our stock market and economy, all bets are off. You are probably wondering most specifically about:
- 401(k) and other retirement assets;
- Stock and brokerage accounts;
- Marital home; and
- Job loss resulting in loss of income and/or health insurance.
First, try not to panic. Do not rush to cash out an account or sell stocks out of fear. There are ways to assess valuing and dividing these accounts and assets creatively to ensure both spouses receive what they are due. For example, rather than placing a dollar value on the amount, a spouse is to receive, why not assess a percentage. That way, you can account for the ups and downs and you each rise and fall together.
Second, consult your lawyer or hire a lawyer. Most lawyers, like the ones at Martine, Katz Scanlon & Schimmel, P.A. are dialed into the local bar associations and court systems. This means we are learning up-to-the-minute information about how the state and court are handling these unprecedented times. Did you know that child support enforcement is relaxing certain rules? Did you know that you can still file certain pleadings even while the court is close? All of this can be valuable when reassessing your case and goals.
Lastly, assess if dividing your property now or later will better serve you. Again, this is a discussion you can map out with your lawyer while you figure out together what a better financial settlement could look like for you.
These are tricky times and health and safety are our priorities. But, that does not mean your divorce or your thoughts about where your divorce is heading can completely come to a halt. If you need assistance with your divorce our lawyers are ready to meet with you (socially distanced of course).