Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Financial ramifications of a strategic divorce

Often when a Massachusetts marriage reaches its end it is because one of the partners passes away or the partners choose to end their marriage through divorce. Many bases on which divorces are grounded involve disagreements that cannot be resolved, fundamental differences regarding how the partners approach life, and difficulties that have no other options for resolution. Divorce is hard on individuals who agree that it is necessary, and individuals who choose to divorce can do so through litigation or some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

However, a recent trend is emerging regarding why some American couples are choosing to divorce. Known as "strategic divorces," these marriage dissolutions are not necessarily based on conflict but rather perceived or actual financial necessity. When partners to a marriage separate and divorce, they divide up their money and assets and figure out how to live on less than what they had when they were married. Strategic divorces may afford individuals certain options to receive benefits and financial help that they would not qualify for if they continued their unions.

For example, Medicaid may not be an option for individuals who earn over a certain income threshold. By securing a divorce, a person's income and assets may decrease, thereby qualifying them for this benefit. Similarly, some couples end their marriages to render their children eligibility for some student financial aid.

Strategic divorces are not without risks, and anyone considering a divorce based on any rationale should talk it through with an attorney who understands the legal and financial ramifications of ending marriages. This post does not provide any advice to its readers and should be read as informational in content.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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