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Lack of financial knowledge could lead to problems in divorce

Older couples are twice as likely to get a divorce than the same age group was in the 1990s. For people in California who have not been involved in managing the marital budget, it could be the first time in decades or even a lifetime that they have had to make financial decisions.

A study by UBS Global Wealth Management found that this is not uncommon. In its survey of 1,500 couples and 600 divorced or widowed women, it found that 56 percent of women allowed their husbands to make the main investment and financial decisions. This was the case for both older and younger women with 54 percent of baby boomer and 61 percent of millennial women saying they did not make the investment decisions in their marriage.

However, 59 percent of divorced or widowed women said they regretted not being more involved in the financial side of their marriage while more than 90 percent said they wished they had had complete transparency in their marriage regarding finances. Over half of the women said that they encountered some surprises after their marriage ended, and although not all were negative, in some cases it included learning about debt and overspending that they were not aware of.

One unpleasant surprise that could arise in a divorce is that one spouse has hidden assets. This could be complex and might involve using offshore accounts or shell companies, or it could be as simple as hiding bonuses or clearing out an account and leaving the cash with a friend or family member. Couples are supposed to be honest about revealing their assets during the discovery process of the divorce, so if one person believes that the other is less than forthcoming, this should be discussed with an attorney.

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