Three Ways to Plan for Your Divorce
Duncan E. White, Owner
Inkpointe Divorce Solutions, LLC
IRMO, SC – Divorce does screwy things to a person’s head. Believe me, I’ve seen it.
The intelligent, put-together person that you were, turns into an emotional, brain-fogged, unorganized basket case. You try hard to keep it together, but you know this will not go down as “the best of times.” You want to sit down and get a handle on your future plans, but feel paralyzed and surrounded by a fog of indecision.
What’s a person to do?
Well, first, get real.
Admit What You Don’t Know
When it comes to the family finances, what has been your role? Do you handle the bill paying? Are you “in the loop” on all your investment accounts, retirement plans, bank accounts, etc., or are you in the dark? If you are in the dark, you need someone to help you turn the lights on – and quickly! If you and your spouse are cooperative, ask for statements on all your asset accounts and your most recent tax returns so you can find a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® to bring you up to speed. A CDFA® is specially trained in the financial aspects of divorce and will be your best friend during this process! They will help to clear out that brain-fog like a cool ocean breeze!
Think About Your Future
This is hard at first but start thinking about what the next phase of your life looks like. Unfortunately, this must happen at the same time you are grieving over what you thought the next phase was going to look like. However, if you allow yourself some space, it could actually be fun. You have the chance to start from scratch. What did you dream of doing that got lost during your marriage? Is it time to go back to school? Maybe a downtown loft condo should replace that huge family home. Whatever you dream of you must have your budget and financial picture clearly defined. So, the step above has to come first so your dreams don’t outsize your wallet!
Build a Single Identity
Often through marriage all the credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc., are in the names of both spouses. All those accounts have to be closed or converted. After the marriage is over, your credit picture may not be nearly as strong, so you’ll want to put some things in place while you are still married. Immediately open a checking and savings account in your own name to begin the process of establishing your own financial identity. Next, find a good rewards credit card to apply for in your name alone so that you will be assured of having access to credit post-divorce (and maybe even during the process if legal fees are necessary).
These steps seem small but are valuable first steps to get you thinking financially and looking out for your future. Take control! You can get through this! A little help from a CDFA® friend is a great place to start.
Duncan E. White is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) and has been a licensed financial advisor since 2010. He leads a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop each month for the benefit of those seeking information about the divorce process.
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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. LPL Financial and Inkpointe Divorce Solutions do not offer tax, legal or mortgage lending services or advice.