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How a financial planner can be helpful

Maryland residents who are seeing their marriages come to an end may need a financial planner to help them get a handle on their money situation and avoid being taken advantage of during a divorce. Too often, people wait until after a divorce to consult a financial professional, and by that point, the damage may have already been done.

For example, one woman did not know that when she got the family home in a divorce settlement, her husband had used it to take out a home equity loan. As a result, she ended up with twice as much debt as she had anticipated, and she struggled to make mortgage payments.

Taking the house of lieu of other assets is often an emotional decision made by one spouse, and it can also be a costly one. One problem is that some investments will appreciate much more rapidly in value, and a house also costs in terms of upkeep and insurance.

People who are divorcing may also need to beware of one spouse attempting to hide assets. Because this is often done in ways that may be difficult to detect, it might take an experienced financial planner to ferret it out. For this and other reasons, divorcing people should also avoid sharing a financial planner just as they should never share a divorce attorney.

Having a good handle on the financial situation may be particularly important if a person was a stay-at-home parent and did not participate in the family finances. That person might need to quickly learn about finances and money management. With a good picture of the family's assets, income, debt and investments, negotiations on a property division settlement handled with the assistance of an attorney can proceed.

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