No one ever enters marriage expecting to get divorced. This can be one of life’s most difficult transitions and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Losing someone you once loved and breaking apart the life and family you built together with your partner can be an emotionally exhausting experience. But, like marriage, divorce is a legal event that requires a lot of thought and consideration, especially for your financial future. Consider these tips before you get divorced to help prepare you for this new phase of life.
Don’t Rush a Divorce
First and foremost, don’t rush the divorce process. There are so many difficult decisions to make: property division, child support, parental responsibilities. Each one of these decisions has a long-term impact on your emotional and financial well-being.
Take a deep breath, and take your time making each decision. I even tell my clients to remove their emotions from the equation and think of each decision as a business transaction. This may sound cold, but emotions are at an all-time high during a divorce. It’s critical to calm these emotions and make decisions as rationally as you can.
Getting organized before a divorce can help minimize stress and reduce the chances of running into problems down the road.
Start by making a list of all your assets, liabilities, and financial accounts, including:
- Bank statements
- Insurance policies
- Investment accounts
- Estate planning documents
- Tax returns for the past few years
- Retirement account statements
- Loan documents
- Real estate deeds and car titles
You’ll need to gather these items and give them to your attorney. It may also be helpful to divide them up into marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained during the marriage) and non-marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained before or after marriage).
Know Your Cash Flow
Even if you anticipate having a considerable net worth after divorce, it’s important to know what your cash flow will look like moving forward. You don’t necessarily need to budget and track every expense, but you do need a clear idea of how much money you’ll have coming in each month.
Write down your net income, including your salary, alimony, child support, dividend income, and so on. Then write down all of your expenses. (Don’t forget one-off expenses like property taxes and private school tuition that may not show up on your monthly bank statements.)
Seeing these numbers in writing will help you get comfortable with your new cash flow and help you prepare for any unexpected expenses.
Plan Ahead for Post-Divorce Life
Life drastically changes after divorce. Instead of dividing financial tasks between the both of you, you become solely responsible. Now is a good time to start thinking about:
- Making a legal name change
- Updating all assets, documents, and liabilities
- Changing beneficiaries and emergency contact information
- Setting up a filing system to keep tax records, investment documents, insurance policies, and legal information organized
Be Gentle With Yourself
No matter how amicable you try to make it, divorce can be messy. It can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
Go easy on yourself. You may be in a fog right now—and that fog may last for quite some time. Seek therapy or counseling if you need to. Do whatever it takes to protect your mental and physical health.
Lean on Your Advisor
Having a support system is essential to successfully navigating life’s ups and downs, and this includes going through a divorce. As one of life’s biggest challenges, divorce is a time when you may need that support more than ever. Part of your support system should include a trusted professional who can offer informed and objective financial advice. It’s wise to lean on your advisor during this time. They are there to offer advice, listen as you voice your fears and concerns, and help clarify any issues of concern or confusion.
If you don’t already have a financial advisor as a member of your support system, Infiniti Wealth Management would be honored to join your team. I specialize in helping clients navigate divorce-related issues and move forward with comfort, clarity, and even confidence. If you’d like to partner with a financial planner who understands your unique needs and helps you feel secure in your financial decisions, call our office at 845-278-8638 or send us a message to set up a complimentary consultation.
Michael Durante is a founder, Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA®) at Infiniti Wealth Management, an independent, fee-only financial advisory firm. With over 25 years of experience, Mike specializes in serving women who are going through a life transition, whether that’s a divorce or the death of a spouse, as well as pre-retiree and retiree couples. He is passionate about helping his clients develop a personalized financial plan based on their values and goals so they enter retirement with confidence and peace of mind. Mike has both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from Pace University. When he’s not working, Mike loves spending time outdoors hiking, biking, walking, golfing, campfires, the beach and doing yard work, as well as spending time with family and friends. Mike also enjoys to read, travel, and check out local restaurants and events. To learn more about Mike, connect with him on LinkedIn.
August 29, 2022 - Michael Durante, CFP®, CDFA®