By Brett Gottlieb
Virtually nobody gets married expecting to someday divorce. Losing someone you once loved and breaking apart the life and family you built together with your partner is an emotionally exhausting experience. However, like marriage, divorce is also a legal event that requires a lot of thought and consideration, especially for your financial future. With this in mind, here are a few things you should consider before getting divorced.
First and foremost, don’t rush the divorce process. There are so many difficult decisions to make: property division, child support, parental responsibilities. Each one of these decisions has a long-term impact on your emotional and financial well-being.
Take a deep breath, and take your time making each decision. I even tell my clients to remove their emotions from the equation and think of each decision as a business transaction. This may sound cold, but emotions are at an all-time high during a divorce. It’s critical to calm these emotions and make decisions as rationally as you can.
Getting organized before a divorce can help minimize stress and reduce the chances of running into problems down the road.
Start by making a list of all your assets, liabilities, and financial accounts, including:
- Bank statements
- Insurance policies
- Investment accounts
- Estate planning documents
- Tax returns for the past few years
- Retirement account statements
- Loan documents
- Real estate deeds and car titles
You’ll need to gather these items and give them to your attorney. It may also be helpful to divide them up into marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained during the marriage) and non-marital property (i.e., assets and debts obtained prior to or after marriage).
Even if you anticipate having a considerable net worth after divorce, it’s important to know what your cash flow will look like moving forward. You don’t necessarily need to budget and track every expense, but you do need a clear idea of how much money you’ll have coming in each month.
Write down your income, including your salary, alimony, child support, dividend income, and so on. Then write down all of your expenses. (Don’t forget one-off expenses like property taxes and private school tuition that may not show up on your monthly bank statements.)
Seeing these numbers in writing will help you get comfortable with your new cash flow and help you prepare for any unexpected expenses.
Life drastically changes after divorce. Instead of dividing financial tasks between the both of you, you become solely responsible. Now is a good time to start:
- Making a legal name change
- Updating all assets, documents, and liabilities
- Changing beneficiaries and emergency contact information
- Setting up a filing system to keep tax records, investment documents, insurance policies, and legal information organized
No matter how amicable you try to make it, divorce is messy. It’s emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
Go easy on yourself. You may be in a fog right now—and that fog may last for quite some time. Seek therapy or counseling if you need to. Do whatever it takes to protect your mental and physical health.
Everyone needs a support system when traversing life’s ups and downs. As one of life’s biggest challenges, divorce is a time when you need that support more than ever. It’s also wise to speak with a professional who can offer informed and objective advice. That’s where your financial advisor comes in. Throughout the divorce process, lean on your advisor. Ask for advice, voice your fears and concerns, and let them know when you’re confused.
If you don’t already have a financial advisor as a member of your support system, we at Comprehensive Advisor would be honored to join your team. We specialize in helping clients navigate divorce-related issues and move forward with peace, clarity, and even confidence. If you’d like to partner with a financial planner who understands your unique needs and helps you feel secure in your financial decisions, email us at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com or call (760) 813-2125.
Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Brett is Life Insurance licensed in several states. He is passionate about guiding his clients on retirement income planning, helping each client pursue their specific retirement goals and defending the assets his clients have worked so hard to achieve. Brett is a California native and currently resides in San Elijo Hills with his beautiful wife and three children.
With a combined experience of over three decades in the financial services industry, our advisors hail from some of the largest independent broker/dealers and banking institutions in the country. They have dedicated their professional careers to creating personalized financial solutions for individuals and families who seek successful retirement planning and currently offer investment advisory services through AE Wealth Management, LLC. Our advisors take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County and beyond. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com.
Investment advisory services made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Comprehensive Advisor are not affiliated companies. C.A. Financial & Insurance Services, CA Ins. Lic. #6000262. This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Neither the firm nor its representatives may give tax or legal advice. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection benefits, safety, security, lifetime income, etc. generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. 1410254 – 7/22
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