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Divorce can be a devastating time for many people – some can suffer from the emotional and financial impacts for several years.

A new study by Fidelity Investments reports a majority of those surveyed felt it took at least five years to recover from the fiscal and psychological effects of a divorce.

Study uncovers biggest regrets for divorcees

Despite the many potential pitfalls of divorce, you can take preventative measures to speed recovery. The Fidelity study exposed common regrets, such as:

  • 80% of those who weren’t involved in managing their daily finances while they were married say it’s their biggest regret
  • 40% of those who weren’t involved say they still haven’t recovered financially
  • While 80% of men and women say they were active in managing daily finances, 60% of women say they weren’t involved in long-range financial planning

Steps for taking control of your financial future

The survey points to several actions you can take not only if you are considering divorce, but if your spouse passes away, or you just want your marriage to be on equal financial footing. Experts advise you to take these steps:

  • Get involved: Both spouses should know the basics of their family’s financial situation regardless of who pays the bills or directs investments. Be knowledgeable about your tax returns, bank accounts and retirement funds.
  • Communicate: Talking about money can be difficult for spouses, but if you avoid those conversations, it can get you into trouble. The survey found 14% discovered debt they weren’t aware of, and 10% uncovered assets their spouse was attempting to hide.
  • Consider a pre- or postnup: A prenuptial agreement spells out how property will be distributed in the event of a divorce, and postnuptial agreements are made after getting married. Both can solve many financial issues, although couples must make them as detailed as possible.

Consider the business side of marriage

No one gets married believing their relationship is doomed to fail and thinking of your loving union as a business arrangement may be unromantic. However, couples that keep a clear head over their personal and marital assets and remain engaged in their financial obligations can help avoid serious issues that can develop after unexpected circumstances arise.