Dealing with Divorce: Practical Tips to Prevent Stress

There are three (3) main components to dealing with any divorce.  Those include:

  1. The Emotional Component: dealing with the loss associated with losing an important relationship and grieving that loss;
  2. The Financial Component: figuring out how to divide assets accumulated during marriage and how to remain financially secure going forward on a single income; and
  3. The Legal Component:  filing and attending the necessary court hearings to legally dissolve the marital relationship.

A combination of these factors can make a divorce very expensive in various ways.  In keeping with the theme of “Divorce Month,” considering the following practical tips can help you prevent financial and emotional devastation during the divorce process:

>Read a book, take a class, or do some other research on the divorce process, even if you plan to use a mediator or attorney.  Knowing how the process works can translate into dollars saved if professionals do not have to spend as much time explaining the details at their hourly rates.

>Organize your records and collect information about all of your finances, in particular, what you own, what you owe and a reasonable family budget.  See also June 14, 2013 Blog: The Paper Chase: Why Keeping Financial Documents is a Huge Benefit in Contemplation of Divorce.

>In considering and compiling a list of your assets, don’t forget frequently overlooked assets, such as Frequent Flyer Miles, credit card points, season tickets, club memberships and time shares.  Sometimes these “smaller” assets can bring great bargaining power to one party during settlement negotiations.

>Apply for credit cards in your own name.  Having a personal credit card will enable you to have an easy way to access money, establish credit in your own name and have something to use when you cancel your joint accounts with your spouse.

>Obtain the best advice you can afford.  Fees associated with divorce, be it attorney’s fees, mediator’s fees or fees for a financial neutral, can be an investment into your future.  Although it may seem painful at the time, try not to be penny wise and dollar foolish.  Such an approach may end up costing you more money in the long run.

>Try not to get stuck on small issues.  A stall in negotiations may generate unnecessary and increased legal fees.   Frequently, a comprehensive settlement agreement results in terms that neither party is totally satisfied with.  If your major needs and objectives are met, consider giving on some of the smaller issues.

>Lastly, remember that whatever professional you are meeting with has a specialty and focus.  The attorney advises you on legal issues; the therapist helps you emotionally; and the financial specialist performs financial and tax analysis.  Stay on point when you are meeting with professionals charging an hourly rate to maximize your dollar’s benefit.

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