With divorce comes grief, heartache, and often fear. You may feel like you are walking around in a fog that just won’t dissipate. Your mind combs over years of marriage to pinpoint when things started to unravel. You may feel like Atlas, with the weight of the world resting on your shoulders. If this sounds like you, and you feel like the mighty Atlas, whatever you do – don’t shrug.
Don’t shrug and let your world come crashing down. You must move forward. Your financial future depends on it. It’s time for you to forge ahead and, as Kristen Bell will tell you from Frozen 2 lyrics, you must do “The Next Right Thing.” (I know this is a Disney movie, but please listen to the song.)
If you need more of a nudge, let’s listen to the words of Mr. Walt Disney himself, “Whether you say you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
I believe you can… I know you must…
Ladies, stand up, grab the Kleenex if you want, it’s time to get to work and protect your financial future. So, what’s “The Next Right Thing” after your husband asks you for a divorce? Here are two steps that will help you move forward toward a more successful outcome.
STEP #1 – Get Prepared and Understand Your Current Financial Picture
Make a list of your family’s accounts and approximate balances. This list should include bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts (IRAs and work-sponsored plans), life insurance policies (cash value of those policies), pension statements, social security statements, and untraditional assets like cryptocurrencies.
Make sure you have a username and password to access information about the accounts.
Also, it is imperative that you have money in a bank account in your own name.
Properties, credit cards, taxes and perks
Make a list of properties that you own. Are those properties generating income? If so, how much? Make a copy of your deeds.
Make sure you have copies of your recent tax filings.
What vehicles do you own? How are they titled? Get copies of the vehicle registrations.
What other assets do you share as a family (frequent flyer points, credit card points)?
Understand the liabilities and expenses on everything mentioned above. What mortgages do you owe on the properties? Do you have credit card debts?
Also, do you have a personal credit card in your name only? If not, get one now.
You must work toward wrapping your arms around your financial picture. (Here’s a Divorce Cheat Sheet to help.) A comprehensive or holistic approach is critical. You must do your homework and understand what you are financially worth. You cannot stay Frozen.
Step #2 – Do Not Fear The Divorce Process
“Fear is what can’t be trusted.” – Elsa from Frozen 2
You must not fear the divorce process. It is imperative that you slow down to make the best decisions for your future.
So often women rush through the process to “just get it over with” and “get this behind them.” That is rarely advantageous in the long run. In fact, it often leads to bad decisions.
Ladies, you know the process won’t be fun. You understand that it will be emotionally difficult and challenging. It’s ok to cry. Emotions are part of a divorce. What is not ok, is for you to lose sight of your future. You can’t melt. You must stay focused on your goals and what your new future and new realities may look like. You must be able to articulate what you want. Communicating throughout this process is essential to help you arrive at the best possible outcome.
Every detail toward your financial future matters.
Lean on your Attorney and Certified Financial Planner to help guide you to make the best possible decisions. However, you must find your voice. With the help of your divorce team, you need to be able to consider and analyze the effects of different divorce settlement options. You must not be afraid to speak up and ask for something different during the divorce process. This is not the time to “Let It Go.”
I hope you found this helpful. Please click on the link to grab the divorce documents cheat sheet. This will help you remember all the docs needed as you go through the divorce process.
Also, I apologize for the Frozen Movie references. As I write this, we are in the midst of COVID-19 shut down in Maryland. I have two children who have watched Frozen more times than I can count, and I can’t help but find myself singing along. 😊
As always, I am here and ready to help you. My certification as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner can help you navigate the uncertainties of divorce. Good luck as you move forward and remember to do “The Next Right Thing.”
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