Long term separations can put you in a kind of limbo. For whatever reason either both parties are loath to say goodbye to the marriage but can’t seem to work out their differences or the financial and emotional burden of a divorce is too much for either party to handle right now. Whatever the reason if you find yourself in this kind of situation you aren’t alone. Long-term separations exist for many would-be couples right now. This phenomenon increased significantly during the Great Recession as parties who wanted to divorce were averse to doing so due to financial difficulty or even unemployment on the part of one or both parties. Some people take a weekend away after a heated argument or a few months away to get some distance and gain some perspective on a marriage. But these are considered short term separations. These can last a year, two years or more. In the short term it can make a lot of sense in that you two are incompatible but by living your separate lives without officially divorcing you avoid the heart ache, the venom that might arise, and the draining emotional toll that a divorce can have on you, and your soon-to-be former spouse. Every decision however has a positive and negative side. The positive you have missed is called an opportunity cost in economics. In this situation waiting too long could have an adverse effect on your pocketbook. How exactly you might ask? Here are 10 ways long term separations can hurt wives financially.
Number one, you can’t give any input as to how your assets are being allocated by your husband. How is your husband currently managing the finances? Certainly when a divorce settlement occurs you want to be able to receive that which you are entitled. But when living apart you don’t know how your husband is saving, or spending, racking up debt or taking good care of the bills, managing investments, making them, or selling them off. In a Community Property state if your husband is acquiring more debt you in turn are also acquiring it. Check into what kind of state you live in. if it is an Equitable Distribution state the only time you have to worry about this phenomenon is with joint credit cards or any other joint debt. Find out which type of state you are in. Second, your husband may use this time to hide financial assets so they don’t become a part of some future divorce settlement. Third, if your husband loses his job or his financial situation does a 180 your settlement may decrease significantly from what you may have originally acquired. Besides becoming unemployed he may be injured and go on disability. Perhaps he got into legal trouble and so there goes your savings. Fourth, your husband could move to another state, or even another country. Laws from one state to another and one country to another in regard to divorce vary radically, particularly when it comes to alimony. It usually only takes six months to a year to establish residency somewhere else. Moving to another country could make things far worse for your lawyer, complicating things further.
Fifth, the laws governing alimony could change in the state in which you live. Look into your own state law and any bills coming up mentioning alimony reform, for these have been changing the state of alimony and for the most part negatively impact the former wife in a financial sense. Sixth, your future former husband could meet someone. He may use those assets such as your joint savings to buy his new girlfriend lavish gifts, take her on vacations, to fancy restaurants and so on. He may even support her. Seventh, you may have to diminish your living standards during a long separation. Legally, you may have trouble acquiring alimony at the lifestyle which you were previously accustomed to. If you are receiving far less now to live on your soon-to-be ex could say that you don’t need that much since you’ve been living on such a prolonged period on a far more meager income. Eighth, if your husband runs into financial trouble of the legal kind, you could be on the hook for it too. Though you may feel completely different about him since the time you both said, “I do” in the eyes of the law you are still husband and wife. If your husband cheats on his taxes, is sued, or does some other kind of financial shenanigans those assets, though you feel entitled to your fair share, may go to pay legal bills, fines and more. Ninth, without a separation agreement if you depend on your husband to support you, there’s no legal protection against him cutting you off. Number ten, staying separated long term and floating in that limbo makes it hard to move on with the rest of your life. For more pick up a copy of, On Your Own Again: The Down-to-Earth Guide to Getting Through a Divorce or Separation and Getting on with Your Life by Keith Anderson and Roy Macskimming.