Managing the Financial Aspects of Your Divorce
This is the first in a series of posts on dealing with the business aspects of your divorce. This material is adapted from the award-winning book by Ed Sherman, “Make any Divorce Better.” Ed Sherman is one of the founders of Divorce Helpline. His dedication to providing compassionate and cost-effective personalized legal support to those facing divorce resulted in the unique service model that distinguishes Divorce Helpline from other California divorce attorneys and divorce document services.
Business and emotions don’t mix well. One of the best things you can do to ease your way along during your divorce process is to keep business and personal matters separate.
The business of divorce is about what you own and what you are going to live on in the future — your assets, debts, investments, cash flow, budgeting and taxes.
Divorce may be the most important financial event of your life. The choices and decisions you make now can influence your financial well-being for the rest of your days.
Divorce is a time when you have to learn to take care of yourself, and you really do have to take care of business. Try to spend at least as much time focused on business as you do on your emotional issues. Try very hard to keep business and emotional issues separate.
To take control of your life and make sound financial decisions, you have to know what you want. In order to negotiate you have to know what you want. And the only way to figure out what you want is to know the facts and understand them. Then you have to find out what both you and your spouse are entitled to by law. Only then can you make sound decisions about what you want.
Gathering your information, getting advice, thinking about it, and deciding what you want will take some time. That’s why we urge you to make temporary arrangements and stick to short-term solutions until things settle down and you have had time to think it over. Meanwhile, here’s what you do.
First, gather and organize your information. Once you have all your data together, if you still don’t understand your affairs, get help from an accountant, a credit counselor, a financial counselor or an attorney. Go over your facts with your advisor until it all makes sense.
Knowledge is power. With it, you have strength and control. Without it you are helpless, a victim. Often, one spouse has more information and therefore more negotiating power than the other. If there is an imbalance in bargaining power and strength between you and your spouse, the situation can be greatly improved with knowledge and information.
To get through your divorce, you will need to know all the facts and have all relevant documents in order, both for your own understanding and for your attorney, if you use one. If you get properly prepared ahead of time, you will have more peace of mind and you can save yourself thousands of dollars.
Your goals for the immediate future are to:
• Gather facts
• Organize and understand all the financial aspects of your joint lives,
• Understand your rights and obligations,
• Decide what you want, and
• Plan how to live on your new income in a changed lifestyle.
If you have questions about any aspect of your divorce process, please give us a call at 1-800-359-7004. We’re here to help.