When you are going through a divorce it is normal to feel as if you are “off your game” and experience something we call, brain fog! It doesn’t matter how many professional degrees you have next to your name or what title you hold at your company. When you are watching your marriage coming to an end and seeing everything familiar around you change, it can mess with your head. As a result, a divorce, can cloud your judgement, hence the “brain fog.” During the divorce process you will be constantly under pressure to make life altering decisions, many times under duress. That is why you need to surround yourself with the right professional team who can guide you and walk you through your options, so you can plan and structure your future wisely.
ONE: BUILD A TEAM
Ask anyone who has been through a divorce, and they will say, “Marriage is about love. Divorce is about the money.” By building the right team, which should include hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA), even before you retain a lawyer, you can create a settlement that allows you to continue providing for your children.
A CDFA® will help with many things including help you locate, organize and structure: Tax Returns, Bank Statements, Monthly bills, Retirement Plan Statements, Credit Card Statements, Investment Accounts and more. The CDFA® will also gather information by asking you: What are your monthly cost of living expenses? How much marital money is in the bank? What are your assets? Have you and your spouse incurred any debt? Have your tax returns been filed and where are those returns? Are there any assets from before marriage?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, that is okay. Many people don’t readily have this information, but you will need to provide it to a mediator or attorney. That is why you need a CDFA from day one.
TWO: BE PREPARED
You have heard this phrase before marriage is basically dissolving a business. Think like a businessperson or better yet, consider yourself the CEO of your finances. If you want to close the deal, leave your emotions at the door, and have a strategy, which begins with the Four-K’s and the Two-B’s. Know what you need Know what you want Know your end goal Know what you want out of your settlement Be prepared to compromise Big picture, don’t get stuck in the weeds
THREE: THINK LONG-TERM NOT JUST SHORT-TERM
Times goes by very quickly. That is why you must “drift-off,” so to speak, and picture what you want your life to look like next week, next year, or better yet, ten-years down the road while you are negotiating your settlement. Ask yourself: What are the tax implications from going through a divorce? Do I want to buy a home? Do I see myself going back to school? Will I start a business? Will my children need a car? What year will my children be applying to college? When will I retire?
Whatever comes to mind, you must have a clear path and budget how to accomplish this. A CDFA® or a financial planner will be able to design a blueprint that will allow you to see your economic outlook, so those dreams become a reality.