Illiquid assets like real estate could be especially difficult to put a price on right now, with so much uncertainty in the market. For example, what is the current value of commercial real estate? How much income will it generate? Where are vacancy rates going? How much are businesses worth at this time? These are important questions. “The best thing to do is to do in-depth scenario mapping of your settlement options,” notes Steph Wagner, director of women and wealth at Northern Trust Wealth Management.

That includes reconsidering whether you really want the family home, and if so, what the best ownership structure would be. Wagner notes that in some circumstances it may be better to continue to co-own the property within a protected partnership instead of trying to take sole ownership and having to refinance in an uncertain real estate market. For example, if you get sole ownership and are unable to refinance to buy your partner out before the legal deadline, as a sole owner you will have to carry all of the transaction and closing costs, Wagner says. Moreover, if you eventually have to sell, the capital gains exclusion is much lower for a single owner.

Then there’s custody of children. It’s not only a tough issue emotionally. It often becomes a linchpin for financial decisions, like child support and real estate. And the pandemic means mothers may be losing a key advantage in the fight for custody, Newman warns. Many times, the mother can make a case for custody by arguing that the father does not know anything about the medical care, school routines or daily habits of the children — but with everyone at home more often, fathers may be more knowledgeable about the children’s schooling, diet restrictions or daily habits than before. If this was a critical arrow in your quiver, you may need to sit tight until post-pandemic life resumes or consider that this may not be your strongest move right now.

Speaking of timing, Newman says the most important advice is to make sure you have enough bandwidth during a pandemic to successfully pursue and succeed with divorce. “Divorce is a full-time job. Do you have time for a second full-time job?” she asks.

Sage advice I wish I’d had years ago.

This story was provided by Bloomberg News.

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