Going through a divorce can be complicated, emotionally challenging and expensive. You may or may not have wanted this divorce. Either way, ladies, it’s time to take the reins and get in control of your situation. In the divorce process, you can’t afford to make a mistake.
Build Your Divorce Team
You must fill your bench with a team of professionals to help guide and fight for you. An experienced divorce team helps you understand how the financial decisions you make today will impact the rest of your life. Your divorce team should be compromised of professionals that help you confidently answer to the most pressing question: “Will I be financially okay?”
While hiring a divorce attorney is a great start, you need more. You need a Certified Financial Planner™ professional who specializes in divorce. This person will have the designation “CDFA®” after their name, which stands for Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. I’m not telling you this to self-promote. I’m sharing this advice because I have seen the financial ramifications of so many who have chosen to put their entire financial future into the hands of others without being involved and aware of the financial effects on their lifestyle post-divorce.
Do you need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) knows how to lead clients through a divorce and helps them maneuver through financial questions that can affect the rest of their lives. During the divorce process, a CDFA® can help you answer the following questions:
- Should I keep the house?
- How much alimony do I need to maintain my standard of living?
- How should alimony and property division be structured?
- What strategy is best to divide retirement and investment accounts?
- What will the tax impact be?
- How to best withdraw money if need be?
- What is the strategy for budgeting and planning going forward?
- Am I going to run out of money?
- How much child support is enough?
While answering all of your questions may seem overwhelming, I can’t stress enough how important they are. Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?” and “How?” to take charge of your situation and truly understand what’s going on. This isn’t the time to trust that your husband will be fair throughout the divorce. Right now, you must get to work to protect your own financial future
Negotiating the Best Financial Settlement For You
Divorce should be equitable, but that isn’t always the case. A Certified Financial Divorce Analyst® will help you, and your attorney, negotiate the best possible outcome for you. You must retain expert guidance that will help you and your attorney understand the pros and cons of different divorce settlements and property division scenarios. A CDFA® will illustrate, in a way that is easy to understand, what a settlement will look like for you not just today, but 10, 20, 40 years from now.
What Happens After My Divorce?
Unlike an attorney, who you will only work with in the months leading up to your divorce, and probably never see again, a CDFA® is also your financial planner that will continue to monitor your financial plan for years to come. A CDFA® will help you address post-divorce key areas such as:
- Designing a comprehensive investment strategy based on new realities and goals
- Investment planning, management, and monitoring
- Financial planning and Retirement Analysis
- Updating titling of accounts, beneficiaries and estate planning documents
- Overseeing the transfer of settlement assets from joint names
- Creating a budget
- College education planning for children
- Addressing new insurance needs (life, disability and long-term care)
- Understanding Social Security options
- Navigating health care
Will I be Financially Okay?
You will be fine, because you don’t have another choice. You’ll make your new lifestyle work, because you must. You will adjust and you will be ok because you will not allow yourself the alternative.
You get to choose if you want to be surprised throughout this divorce process or if you want to be informed, empowered and in charge.
I beg you to be informed. Get your Kleenex and take charge. You can cry through every conversation that you have with your attorney and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. That is completely ok and expected. Just show up and do the work to properly secure your future after divorce.
Lauren specializes in working closely with successful and affluent women, including those who are going through a life-changing transition, by helping them organize, understand, manage and track progress towards their financial goals. Lauren takes the time to listen and understand her clients’ financial objectives and concerns, before delivering advice and offering solutions in concert with clients’ attorneys, tax advisors, bankers, mediators and other trusted advisors.
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