In today’s mini episode, I want to clarify what is meant by the term “Walk-Away Divorce.” You may or may not have heard this term, but if you ever hear it, sometimes when I use the term, people get a quizzical look on their faces, and I just want to explain what is meant by it.
Basically, what is meant by a Walk-Away Divorce is that both spouses have no interest in dividing any of their property whatsoever, and they are in agreement that they each want to simply Walk-Away from the marriage with the assets in their own name. Not ask for any assets from their spouse. Not ask that their spouse share in paying down any of their debts. And not ask for any kind of child support or spousal maintenance/alimony from their spouse.
As you can imagine, a Walk-Away Divorce tends to be one of the most simple, straightforward, and quick and inexpensive divorces out there. That said, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to control whether or not you will have a Walk-Away Divorce other than if you yourself want nothing from your spouse, and your spouse has the exact same feeling toward you, from a legal and a financial perspective.
I do want to share one word of caution about a Walk-Away Divorce, which is that, oftentimes these cases coincide for some of the couple who – they don’t have kids in common or kids under 21. And oftentimes, their finances are completely separate. They don’t even have a single joint account, but they certainly don’t have an understanding of what the other person, or often don’t have an understanding of, what the other person has in their accounts, or owns, or owes as debts, or whatever.
So the concern there is that, if you are saying, “Yes, I’m waiving off on all my spouse’s property or – and all the marital property. I don’t want any portion of it. I just want to keep what’s in my name. My spouse can keep what’s in his or her name.” The one concern I have is that you don’t always know what you’re waiving off on. For some people, they’re able to say, “That does not matter to me. I do not care. I wouldn’t care if my spouse had $10M. I would not want a part of it. I just – you know, I want us to go our separate ways.”
If you could not say that and you say, “I think I want us to go our separate ways, but I would also like to know what there is,” you and your spouse – and whatever divorce process you’ve agreed on, whether you’re doing a mediation process, or you’re being represented by attorneys or anywhere in between – you can agree to exchange a financial disclosure statement, where you list all your assets and debts, and potentially, your income and expenses. And then, having reviewed that, you can say with confidence, if it’s the case, “Okay, I’m fine keeping my stuff, and my spouse will keep his or her stuff, and we can truly Walk-Away from this marriage.”
If it’s the case that you can do that, the benefit for you is that you will have an exponentially simpler, faster, less expensive divorce process than most people. But don’t feel bad in any way if you can’t do that because the vast, vast majority of divorces are not Walk-Away Divorces, they’re much more complex and involved and that’s okay too.
So this was our mini episode on Walk-Away Divorces. I hope it was helpful for you.