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Arizona divorce: planning for it before the wedding makes sense

A nationally known educator and author recently addressed the topic of divorce on public radio. We have all heard the statistics in Arizona that about half of all marriages are said to end in divorce. Indeed, it is estimated that 10 percent of marriages will end before the fifth anniversary. About 25 percent will face divorce before the tenth anniversary. With such significant numbers, some suggestions about how to approach the possibility that it may happen may be helpful.

The educator noted that many couples do not want to talk about divorce at the beginning of their marriage because it can sometimes seem self-defeating to many. However, that may be the best time to address financial issues. She observed that those couples who are able to communicate about these issues from a cooperative standpoint may be able to fashion an agreement that protects both parties in the event a divorce does result. It may help to consider a prenuptial agreement much in the way one might plan to make a last will.

Divorce statistics indicate that, on average, women fare worse financially than men in a divorce. Some 37 percent of them are said to end up with a reduced lifestyle after separating, while almost two thirds of men enjoy a better lifestyle. For that reason, it is suggested that women take seriously the possibility of divorce and its potential effect on them before and during their marriage.

The best advice appears to be to plan ahead. If a divorce plan is in place, it may actually contribute to the stability of a marriage as both parties will likely feel they are financially protected. Arizona residents preparing to marry may gain by addressing the need for a prenuptial agreement with their partner before the wedding date. Those already married who do not have such an agreement in place would do well to seek advice about their rights and responsibilities under our state laws.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio, "Ruth Hayden on money and divorce," Emily Kaiser, Oct. 11, 2012

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