In most marriages that are headed towards divorce, there are usually warnings that both people recognise. These serve as early warnings and can help prepare them for what’s to come. At other times one spouse may come out of the blue with their announcement of divorce wishes. Whether it is a process that is planned ahead of time by both parties, or it is an unexpected event, here are some key points to think about when going through a divorce:
Really think it over. In today’s society when more than half of all marriages end in divorce it’s easy to think of it as a quick fix. But it’s a painful process to go through and not to be considered lightly. See if you can work things out through counseling or talking it over.
Don’t get emotional about finances. Some couples try to get one over on the other during a divorce, either through getting money from the other person or keeping more property. All this does is rack up more legal fees that take away from retirement plans and scholarship funds.
Make a list of assets and liabilities. Get really detailed about how has what and who owes what. It will make things easier during the proceedings when you don’t have to squabble about a detail that was overlooked.
Learn about legal and financial issues. There are many different legal matters that come with a divorce, as well as financial ones that will effect you directly. Be sure to know where you stand at all times.
Get advice. Seek out help carefully. Many people will try to offer their advice from a seemingly similar situation, but no two divorces are exactly alike. You should seek out professional advice in the separate areas of the legal, tax, and financial aspects of getting divorced. Don’t rely on your divorce attorney for tax or financial advice, as they might not know any more than you. Also remember that it is not mandatory to get a lawyer when you get divorced.
Check your spending. With your new life you may find that you have more or less income left over after meeting basic expenses. Either way you’ll want to put a hiatus on any big spending during the divorce until you can get a handle on your new cash flow situation.
Check your insurance. Make any necessary changes and if you were covered under your spouses insurance you’ll want to get your own coverage. You’ll also want to update your will.
Step up your retirement plan. It is likely that your long term plans have changed, along with your income and expenses. It’s time to come up with a new retirement plan that reflects these changes. Perhaps you’ll find that you need less money to retire now that you’ll be single again. This might be balanced by a lower disposable income though, so be sure to run all the numbers.