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Getting divorced can be emotionally devastating, as a couple who swore to love each other forever find themselves in court to dissolve the union that one or both of them had hoped would last forever. Additionally, family law can be very tough to navigate, and often the husband or wife finds themselves in the midst of financial problems. One example is an Arizona woman who also owned property in another state.

The woman estimates that she and her former husband spent about $200,000 in legal fees during the process of their divorce. That process was long and arduous. One of the things that she got in the divorce was her individual retirement account (IRA), which included separate and marital assets. She kept that in return for waiving spousal support payments from her former husband. However, the formal divorce settlement did not reflect that understanding.

The woman faced financial challenges during the divorce due to getting a new home and had to address health challenges within her family. Also, she agreed to let her former husband keep the home they owned in another state instead of selling it at the time of the divorce. Selling the house, after the mortgage was paid off, would have generated another $250,000, which clearly would have helped the woman financially. Because the home wasn’t sold, the woman wound up dipping into her retirement account and racking up credit card debt as well.

All of those challenges combined meant that the woman’s retirement plans were thrown off course since she won’t have as much as she planned on having at the point of retirement. This case, and many others like it, shows how important financial planning is during a divorce, and how important it is to formalize all agreements.