Divorce is like an emotional hurricane. It’s hard to think straight in the middle of the emotional storm, and it’s normal for your financial frame of mind to blur when going through a divorce. But no matter your stress level or your fuzzy frame of mind, it’s extremely important to prepare yourself for the financial side of divorce.
Your divorce is going to result in decisions that will have a huge impact on your finances both now and in the future. Don’t wait until you’re mid or post-divorce to figure out the costs. This can lead to unwanted surprises. But being prepared ensures you won’t be financially devastated as you move forward.
8 Tips To Help Handle the Financial Side of Divorce
- Get Educated about the Financial Side of Divorce
Your finances is an important element that you naturally think about in the break-up of your marriage. Divorce is stressful and traumatic, and with emotions running rampant, you’re likely not going to be thinking clearly during your divorce. But you need to be educated about the costs that come along with your divorce, and get yourself ready to deal with them.
From lawyers and experts, to real estate agents, financial planning, and therapy, costs can range between $10,000 to $20,000. If managed properly, the cost can be considerably lower. Whatever the case may be, make sure you’re prepared for the cost of your divorce by educating yourself.
- Know Your Financial Obligations
If you have children, you’re likely the one who’s going to pay child support. If child support is part of your divorce agreement, you are legally obligated to pay it. Some guys who are supposed to pay child support don’t pay it or don’t pay it in full, which is a legal no-no. The well-being of your children should come first, and the amount of child support that’s decided by the court or mandated by the state is what you’re obligated to pay.
Always pay your child support in full. If there’s a significant change in your financial situation or in your custody agreement it can be adjusted. But, until then, you should pay what is required. Child support pays for everything from the basic necessities of life like food, clothing and housing, and may include child care, education fees, medical expenses and extra curricular activities. If you’re concerned about the money not going to your children, try to find alternate solutions where you can pay service providers directly.
- Be Open to Alimony
Whether you chose to be a stay-at-home dad, or your ex chose to be a stay at home mom, be open to the possibility of alimony. Lots of guys are closed-off to the idea of alimony, not wanting to give the Ex a free ride. But, paying alimony for some short duration of time should also reduce your child support obligation.
Keep in mind, when you’re the one writing the alimony check, the alimony payments are tax deductible, whereas child support is not. Try offsetting child support, dollar for dollar, with alimony so a to take advantage of the tax savings.
- Do Not Hide Your Assets
Divorce can be scary, but the last thing you want to do is panic and move money out of your bank account and into hiding. If the money is found (which it likely will be), you’ll lose your credibility in court and won’t be trusted in any asset discussions. Worse, you may be penalized by the court for your deceit.
Revealing your assets is a legal requirement of all divorcing couples, so disclose everything that belongs to you and don’t hide anything. On top of not being trusted in court, you could be ordered to pay your ex’s attorney fees or the court may even award her all of your undisclosed assets.
- Track the Money
You should locate all of your marital financial resources to help ensure your future. This includes everything from your bank accounts and assets to incomes, properties, retirement plan, vehicles, furniture, brokerage accounts, and insurance policies – everything that’s owned jointly and/or separately by the two of you. Then organize everything into 401(k) and IRA statements, employment retirement accounts, employment bonuses and stock options/awards, real estate holdings, insurance policies (those that have cash values), mortgages, house and vacation home appraisals, brokerage accounts, money market accounts and tax returns. Tracking your monetary assets now can help stabilize your financial situation in the future.
- Protect Yourself
There are many ways to protect yourself, your finances and your assets during the divorce process. Separate your non-marital assets – property belonging to you, such as gifts you were given, that are not subject to equitable distribution. Also, make sure to cancel any joint bank accounts and open individual accounts, but, be careful not to disproportionately take more than what is rightfully yours in the process. Check your credit reports from all three credit agencies (Equifax, Transunion, Experian) and double check that all credit cards in your report are accounted for an/or cancelled. Get new credit cards in your name and close all unused credit accounts. You don’t want your Ex racking additional debt during the divorce process for which you may be held responsible
And don’t be afraid to talk to your spouse to get the information you need. It’s important you’re both aware of your complete financial situation and understand the debts you share as a couple and individually. To avoid unforeseen surprises, with the help of your attorney, ask for a full disclosure of all financial records and accounts and be prepared to share yours. Don’t forget to change your will (and beneficiaries), medical proxy, living will, and your brokerage account beneficiaries too.
- Create a Post-Divorce Budget
Your post-divorce life is going to look much different than your life did when you were married, and it’s important you prepare a budget to account for everything that may come your way. Every day expenses are going to change when you’re single, and if you have kids, you’re going to want to make sure you have everything they need to feel at home and comfortable in your new place.
It’s easy to just focus on divorce-related expenses like child support and alimony, but it’s key to recognize your new reality. Talk to a financial planner if you need to, and create a realistic and meaningful budget for your new single lifestyle.
- Resist the Urge to Impulse Buy
It’d likely you did not initiate the divorce, but divorce always results in a sense of loss. You’re losing a big part of your life and it’s likely very devastating. People deal with loss in different ways, and sometimes we think, albeit illogically, that making a big purchase, like an expensive new car or a big new house will make us feel better.
Divorce is expensive. Your post-divorce life is going to come with new costs you won’t be accustomed to or prepared for. Resist the urge to purchase expensive items on impulse, especially within the first twelve to twenty four months of your divorce.
If you’re about to go through a split, don’t neglect the financial side of divorce. It may be the last thing you want to think about, but it’s crucial for your financial well-being.
What are your biggest questions or concerns when it comes to divorce financials? Write us and let us know in your comments below.
Divorce isn’t rarely two-sided, and if your wife wants a divorce, you’re likely banging your head against the wall trying to figure out what went wrong and what you can do to make things better. If you feel like your marriage is slipping through your fingers, don’t sit there and bitch about it. Get off your butt and make changes. Don’t give up until you’re sure it won’t work. Just because she’s dropped the “D” bomb doesn’t mean your marriage has to end.
If you’re think that your marriage can be saved, it’s time to take things into your own hands. Take a look at the five things to do now if your spouse wants a divorce, plus, what you should never do if you want to save your marriage.
1. Suggest a “Do Over”
No, you can’t completely start over from the beginning. There will be fights that can’t be forgotten and words that can’t be taken back, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end. Make your best effort to Reignite the spark as best you can. Take your wife on dates, smile at her, tell her what you love about her and why you’re with her. Go out and do fun things, travel and try new activities. It’s normal for a relationship to become stale over the years. Marriage is a lot of hard work, and if you want it to last, you have to be willing to do the things that made it exciting in the beginning.
Suggest to her that the two of you give it one month with a “do over”. You both have to be in it together and agree to commit to specific time frame of trying to get your marriage back on track. If nothing changes after that time, then you can re-evaluate the long term prognosis, but changes like this that re-engage the spark are sure to make a positive impact on your marriage.
2. Evaluate and Change Your Behavior
If your wife wants a divorce because of what’s perceived as YOUR behavior problems, whether it’s anger issues, constant complaining, or bad habits, you need to change your ways now. This doesn’t actually mean that you’re to blame, and you likely have a list of her behaviors that you’d like to see changed as well. But, if you want to save your marriage, focus on yourself first and changing the behaviors you know may be damaging your relationship. This is really tough (hell, you’ve had how many years practicing and perfecting who you are), and you may have to seek out a professional to help the changing process. But, if your relationship has gotten to the point where your spouse wants out, you need to recognize your possible flaws and take responsibility for changing what you can.
3. Invest Time and Energy to Working on Yourself
You can’t fix your marriage if you’re not the best, or at least a pretty good version of yourself. Invest your time into activities that make you feel good and contribute to your healthiest, happiest self. Exercise, eat well, go to therapy if you need to. Recognize that there may be parts of you that have changed over time, and do your best to get back to a version of yourself you’re proud of. Sometimes we’re not willing to look at ourselves as part of the issue, but without that acknowledgment, nothing’s likely going to change for the better.
Take care of yourself and take the necessary steps to feel good about the way you look. If you’ve let yourself go over the years, bring back whatever used to make you look and feel your best. You’ll feel on top of the world, and it will make a huge difference in your marriage.
4. Seek Professional Help
If your marriage is on the brink of divorce and you haven’t seen a therapist or a divorce mediator, you need to do so ASAP. If your wife wants a divorce, there are issues between the two of you that need to be resolved. At this stage, it’s not always possible to work it out yourselves. Having a professional, objective, unbiased opinion can help you both figure out what the real issues are and how to implement positive solutions. Therapy and/or mediation will require both of you to own up to your share of the marriage problems, too.
Seeing a marriage counselor or therapist may not save your marriage. Both of you have to want to save your marriage for there to be any sort of resolution. If your wife refuses to cooperate, try your best to convince her why it would be beneficial and how much you want your marriage to work. Don’t push her too hard, but try your best to make her see the light.
5. Agree to a Temporary Separation
If your wife is determined to get a divorce, you may want to agree to a temporary separation (or trial separation). Yes, it may be the last thing you want to do, but if she needs space and time for herself, you need to give it to her. The tighter you hold on, the more likely she is to pull away.
Once you separate, she’ll be faced with the reality of what she thinks she wants. She’ll see what life is like without you and your marriage, and will have to decide if what she’s asking for is truly the best solution. It’s okay to trust in your relationship and the love you share, but you also need to prepare yourself for the worst. If the separation only strengthens her desire for divorce, the split may be the best thing for you both.
What You Should Never Do When Your Wife Wants a Divorce
As soon as you heard the words “I want a divorce” come out of her mouth, it probably hit you like a ton of bricks. Don’t overreact, don’t panic, and for God’s sake don’t beg her to stay.
Divorce is often discussed between couples for quite some time before it actually happens, and going off the rails early on isn’t going to help the situation. People can change their minds, and if you both commit time and energy to working on yourselves and your marriage, you may not have to worry about divorce.
Don’t shut down, either. It’s painful to hear that your wife wants a divorce, but ending communication completely is only just going to push the two of you farther apart. Eat dinner together, watch your kids’ sports games together, spend time doing things you like, and make sure to keep the conversation flowing. Remind each other why you married one another in the first place.
You Deserve To Be With Someone Who Wants You
Finally, don’t rush things. You and your spouse need to work at your own pace to salvage your marriage. Divorce rarely happens overnight; it often takes many months for couples to go through with it. Take the time to figure out what the issues are in your relationship, why it isn’t working anymore, and what both parties can do to make things better. If ultimately time and action don’t heal the problems, and your marriage comes to an end, you should realize that you deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you.
(c) Can Stock Photo / JackF
Parenting after divorce can rapidly turn into open warfare with your ex. You’re angry and frustrated, but for the sake of your children and your sanity, it’s best to come up with some basic parenting ground rules for both households, and let the rest go.
The kids need consistency. Your parenting styles don’t have to be the same, in fact, exposure to different styles can help children enhance their decision-making skills. But there are some rules you and your ex should try your best to agree on.
You may have had a good-cop, bad-cop thing going on when you were together, but your kids need more stability and consistency after divorce. If one of you is strict and the other lets them get away with murder, or one of you is always buying them new things while the other is more money conscious, it can lead to conflict with your kids and even more between you and your ex.
The thing is, you can’t make your ex change her parenting style. You can ask her to change her rules, but you can’t expect her to say yes, and she can’t expect you to say yes if you don’t want to modify the rules at your house. To move forward, parenting after divorce means you and your ex both need to be willing to do what’s best for your kids.
Negotiating Terms for Parenting After Divorce
Even if you and their mother have different parenting styles, establishing ground rules in each home keeps things consistent for your kids. Their routines and schedules should be the same – the same wake-up/bedtime, the same homework routine (only watch TV after their homework’s done), getting to school and after-school activities on time, the same curfew if they’re old enough to go out at night, etc.
Children need routines. Routines bring stability and reassure your children that change is okay and that they have support and love in each household.
1.Protect your Kids from Conflict
Kids suffer from seeing their parents arguing or hearing them bad-mouthing each other. They love both parents and see themselves as half of you and half of your ex. Hearing you bitch about their mother, or the other way around can make them feel like the mean words are meant for them, too.
If you’re not happy with the way your ex is parenting, don’t get into an argument with her about it in front of your kids. Fighting causes your children to feel stressed and anxious at a time that has already been hard on them
2. It’s How You Say It
If you tell your ex to do something, chances are she’s not going to do it. People are much more likely to consider a different point of view if they are educated about it and then asked if they’d consider changing their rules. If you explain why it’s best for your kids to read a book rather than play on their iPads before bed, and give examples where reading helped put them to sleep, she’s more likely to consider modifying her rules than if you straight out tell her to change her stupid ways.
You’re divorced now, and don’t want to put up with any more of her garbage. But, while you and your ex may not have a marital relationship anymore, you still have a parenting relationship. Instead of fighting with each other about whose parenting is right or wrong and what each should be doing differently, focus on what is and isn’t working for your children and why.
3. Suck It Up for The Kids’ Sake
When push comes to shove, your ex may not be willing to change her ways at all. As long as your kids aren’t in imminent danger, you’ll just have to suck it up to protect them from extra stress and tension. If both parents have the kids’ best interests in mind, it’s okay to have different parenting styles because ultimately your kids are being loved and supported and that’s most important of all.
If your kids are doing their homework, staying healthy, getting exercise, attending their extra-curricular activities and maintaining their responsibilities, then you are not giving in by letting go of how their mother is going about it in her house. The only thing you have to agree on is the health, well-being, and support of your children.
4. Keep Your Kids in the Loop
While you need to protect your kids from drama, you should also be communicating with your kids. If you and your ex have different rules for each house, explain to them that mom and dad are different and that they have different rules.
You can say “At daddy’s house you can drink juice, and at mommy’s house you can drink milk and water.” Don’t make one sound better or worse, and don’t try to get the kids on your side by saying, “Dad’s rules are better.” Even if they are!
Your kids should not have to choose sides. If you don’t communicate with your kids, they’ll expect the rules to be the same in each place, so make sure they’re aware of the differences. This will help the kids know where they stand in both households.
5. Consult an Expert
Can’t stop fighting? Don’t hesitate to get an expert involved. If you two are at an impasse on a big issue that has to do with your child’s education or health, enlist an expert with an objective view on what’s best for your child.
Sometimes both parents get so carried away with being right, they’re no longer thinking about what’s best for the kids. Or maybe other relatives or new partners are trying to wade in. Use the expert to cut through some of the crap and get down to what’s best for your kids.
Parenting after divorce can be a struggle, especially if you and your ex don’t see eye to eye. When you know your children get support, love, and care in both households, don’t sweat the details. You are still the best Dad they ever had.
(c) Can Stock Photo / georgemuresan
It happened. You got over your divorce, met an amazing woman, and things are starting to get serious. Remarriage can be so exciting to think about that you may not stop to ask yourself some critical questions before taking this big step. Maybe you think you have it all figured out because you were married before. And while that may be partly true, there are still eight important things to consider before getting hitched again.
1. What About Having Kids?
Having kids is a huge decision. If one of you wants kids and the other one doesn’t, it should be a deal breaker. It’s something you need to figure out before the two of you tie the knot. Do you already have kids from a former marriage? Does she? If one of you already has kids, you may not want more. Age is a factor too. If you’re older, you may not feel the need to have kids at this stage of your life.
And if you do decide to have kids, how many will you have? Who’s willing to change diapers, and get up in the middle of the night when the baby is crying? Will either of you be a stay-at-home parent? When you’re discussing the topic of kids, get as specific as possible so you’re both aware of each other’s expectations when it comes to having and raising children.
2. Have You Given Yourself Enough Time Before Remarriage?
How long has it been since your previous marriage or last serious relationship? There’s no need to jump into anything too quickly, especially when it comes to remarriage.
Some couples meet and decide they’ve found the one within a few months, but that’s not enough time to deeply know a person and be sure you want to spend the rest of your life with her.
There’s no magical amount of time that will tell you if you’re ready or not, but make sure you’re not just getting married because you’re in the “exciting and new” stage of your relationship when the sex is hot and everything else seems fine and dandy. You need to take your time to find out if you’re ready for remarriage and if she’s the one for you.
3. Do You Live Well Together?
Have you moved in together? How is it to live with her? Do your sleep schedules match? How does she handle cleanliness around the house? Do you give each other enough space? Do either of you have habits that the other one can’t stand? What are her attitudes on pets, guests, chores, and who does the cooking?
These are important things to figure out and discuss before remarriage. Some couples are perfect until they move in together. There are things you can’t know about someone until you live with them, so make sure you know what it’s like to live with her before you tie the knot.
4. Have You Gone Through Hardships Together?
One of the best signs that a relationship will last is if it can make it through a storm. Have you seen her at her best and worst? You need to be able to conquer tough times together and be there for each other when life gets hard, not just when things are good.
You don’t know how someone will deal with a tough situation until it happens, and the way she deals with hard times may not be in a way you’re willing to put up with. Make sure you know if she’ll have your back and whether the two of you can make it through disasters.
5. How Will Finances be Handled?
Money can be a tricky thing to talk about, but suck it up and do it if you’re thinking about marriage. Money issues can cause a lot of conflict and fights, so figure out how the two of you will handle your finances before you tie the knot.
Different people have different spending styles. Will you combine accounts? How does she handle credit? Does she have mountains of debt? What are her opinions on how much money to spend on a house or a car? What about lending money to friends and family, tipping, or how much to give your children? The more you honestly talk about it, the easier it’ll be when you’re married.
6. Do You Get Along with Each Other’s Families?
Whether it’s her kids, or her sisters, brothers, and parents, do you get along well with her family? If you haven’t developed a good relationship with her family, and vice versa, it will affect your life down the road. You don’t have to be the best of friends, but it’s important to at least get along with them. If you’re not willing to deal with her family, or if she’s not making an effort to get along with yours, you have to ask yourself if this is the right relationship for you to be in. They say when you marry a person, you marry their family, so ask yourself if it’s a family you’re willing to put up with for the rest of your life.
7. Do You Share the Same Values?
You don’t have to agree about everything. Opposites often attract when it comes to hobbies, your favorite foods and movies, and even personality traits, but if you don’t share the same core values, it can lead to extreme relationship problems. Before remarriage, make sure you understand what’s most important to her – and what’s not.
If you value honesty and loyalty and she could care less about those things, it’s probably not going to end well. If you’re always giving while she’s more of a taker, look out for trouble ahead. Know your values and know hers, before jumping into marriage.
8. What Happens When You Disagree?
Disagreements are bound to happen, but it’s how you deal with it that indicates the strength of your relationship. Does she always have to be right? Is she willing to listen to the other’s point of view? Or does she ignore what you just said and talk over you? You both need to be able to compromise and realize that it doesn’t have to be your way all the time. A big red flag is if you’re already keeping quiet to avoid arguments. A great marriage doesn’t mean there’s never disagreements; it means that both of you can eventually agree, are willing to face problems rather than ignore them.
Remarriage can be an exciting thing to think about, but don’t let your excitement blind you to important issues that could lead to another divorce. The most important things are that your core values are aligned, you’re on the same page when it comes to finances, and it’s the right time for you to get remarried.
(c) Can Stock Photo / lunamarina
Divorce can have a huge impact on almost every part of your life, especially if you and your ex have kids. Often your children are the ones most affected by the split, so it’s important to find ways to minimize divorce damage from the start. There are numerous things you can do to make the divorce easier on your kids, and although every situation is different, if you do these seven things, there’s a high chance that you’ll minimize divorce damage as much as possible.
Kids and Divorce Damage
Divorce is rarely easy on kids, and it becomes especially difficult if they didn’t see anything wrong with their parents’ relationship to being with. When there’s conflict and fighting between parents, divorce can come as a relief to children, but many adults are good at hiding their disagreements from their kids. Some children are blindsided by the divorce of their parents, which can lead to emotional and mental instability and resentment.
Without acting quickly to minimize divorce damage, you may find your kids start acting out, having problems at school or withdrawing from you altogether. You want to create a good relationship between you, your kids and your ex, so your kids can deal with the divorce in a healthy way.
Here are seven reliable ways to minimize the divorce damage.
1. Provide Reassurance
Your kids need to know that they are 100% not responsible for the divorce and that both of their parents love them and that won’t change. Both parents should make a consistent effort and arrange to see their kids on a constant basis. You should let your children know exactly what is going to change so they can prepare for what life is going to be like with divorced parents. Kids need structure and guidance, and they need to be assured that everything is going to be okay.
2. Don’t Argue in Front of Your Kids
Divorce can be scarring enough for your kids, without seeing their divorced parents argue. If you want to minimize the divorce damage, make sure you don’t disagree or fight in front of your kids or anywhere they can hear you. Parental conflict is one of the biggest sources of damage to a child’s mental and emotional state, so try to keep things as civil as possible. Your children’s needs should always be your first priority, so keep that top of mind whenever you’re communicating with your ex.
When there is less conflict between parents, children are less stressed and more resilient. They tend to do better at school and extra-curricular activities and are more emotionally stable.
3. Keep Their Routines Consistent
Your kids are going through a lot emotionally, so it’s more important than ever to maintain consistency with their routines, so they don’t become further confused or distraught. Routines should be kept consistent in both homes – the same bedtime, mealtime, wake-up time and extra-curricular activities. Your kids shouldn’t have to suffer due to their parents’ schedules. If they have dance classes or hockey practices they need to get to, you and your ex need to make sure one of you can get them there.
A disturbance in their routines can disrupt their lives and emotions even more, so keep their routines as consistent as possible. Even though you and your ex-spouse no longer live together, your children need routine and stability from both of you to minimize divorce damage.
4. Don’t Ask Your Kids to Take Sides
You and your ex should never ask your kids to take sides. This creates a lot of confusion and will undoubtedly result in resentment. You both love your kids, and it’s vital and healthy for them to know they’re loved and respected by both parents, and you have to recognize that your ex deserves your child’s love, too. Be conscious of whether you’re guilty of asking them to take sides, even in subtle ways. If you are, you need to make an effort to stop it altogether.
It’s emotionally draining for kids to decide which parent to side with, and it’s just not fair to them to have to deal with that situation. Your custody agreement should allow your child to spend quality time with both parents, so they don’t have to choose one over the other.
5. Stay Involved in Your Kids’ Lives
After a divorce, your kids will want you to stay as involved in their lives as possible. They want you to call, text, see them in person and ask them lots of questions about their life. If you don’t stay involved, they may think you don’t care about them, or they’re at the back of your mind now that you and their mom have split. If they feel like they’re not important or not worthy of your time, the divorce will damage them even more.
They need to know you care, that you’re there for them, and that you’re interested in what they’re doing or what they’re having troubles with. Staying involved will strengthen your relationship and make it easier for them to cope with the divorce.
6. Figure Out How to Co-Parent Properly
You can reduce the damage of divorce on your children when you and your ex learn how to co-parent properly. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re effectively co-parenting. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- Set the intention to create a healthy, supportive co-parenting relationship
- Keep your previously agreed open schedules, but be open to a change in plans from time to time
- Work on yourself to be the best person and parent you can be
- Make important decisions about your children together
- Talk well about your ex to your kids
- Respect one another’s differing parenting styles
- Have a good line of communication and don’t communicate through your kids
- Create cohesive rules, routines, and values in each home
- Both attend important events such as parent/teach conferences, sport/extra-curricular activities, recitals, etc.
- Each spends quality one-on-one time with your children
7. Recognize Your Relationship with Your Ex Isn’t Ending, It’s Changing
When you get a divorce, your marriage is ending, but your relationship with your ex isn’t – it’s changing. When children are in the mix, you’ll always have to have a relationship with your ex, and it’s best to recognize that. The sooner you both realize you’re in a parenting relationship, the sooner you can start collaborating as a team. You need to communicate with each other to create rules and boundaries for your children. You need to make important decisions together about your children’s lives, and you need to talk about your schedules to make sure one of you is always there for your kids.
When you have children, you can’t expect to be done with your ex once your divorce is finalized. You didn’t work as a couple, but you have to make it work as parents. It will be a lot easier on both of you, as well as your kids if you work together to make your parenting relationship work.
Are you worried about the affects of divorce damage on your children? What do you see causing the most damage, and how do you plan to overcome it?
(c) Can Stock Photo / Ulianna19970