Chances are you know someone going through a divorce

A divorce can be extremely stressful and emotional. I know because I went through an ugly, expensive and painful divorce. Only about 3% of divorces actually go to trial and if the case does go to trial it will typically last about 3-5 days. I survived 28 days of trial.

A divorce can also be the biggest financial event of your life.

Because of my experience and knowledge of how the process works, I became passionate about helping women get an equitable settlement. I have advised many clients through a divorce and saved women millions of dollars. I have found most people think they are getting a fair and equitable settlement when in fact they are not.

Unfortunately, family law attorneys and judges are not financial experts and often do not know the tax implications and long-term financial impact of the division of assets. This can result in a huge imbalance of net worth just a few years after a divorce. Because I am a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA™) and have weathered my own storm, I do understand the divorce-related financial issues and can work with the legal team to help make good financial decisions.

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes made when divorcing.

  1. Thinking your lifestyle will be the same. A women’s net worth is generally much lower post-divorce than a male’s and with the prevalent “rehabilitative alimony” laws spousal support can go away in just a few years. Expenses are also often underestimated creating a perfect financial storm. I like to have clients think of it as having ½ the current income with twice the current monthly expenses. Going from a two-income household to one or from one income to none will have a major impact on your lifestyle.
  2. Keeping the family home. Many women are emotionally tied to the family home. It is important to separate the emotion from the true value of the asset and the expense of maintaining it. It is critical to get the house(s) appraised, because often what you think it is worth and what it is really worth (what it will sell for less selling costs and the mortgage) are vastly different. It is also important to understand the true costs of the monthly expenses and the costs of major repairs in the future.
  3. The appearance of a fair settlement. Most settlements appear fair on the surface, however many times the marital assets are not valued accurately. It is critical to understand financial aspects of each asset. This includes the current market and future market value, original cost and basis, transaction costs and tax implications to truly understand what you are getting or giving up. If not valued correctly someone may win and someone may lose big money. Projecting future net worth based on various property settlement and support scenarios also helps create a more equitable settlement for both parties. It is almost impossible to go back and alter the settlement after it is final.
  4. Relying on your attorney for emotional support. Divorce is emotionally difficult and legal fees can be expensive. Your attorney is not a “shrink” and you do not want them to be one. They are expensive and generally get paid by the hour. You will need to rely on your family and friends to get you through it.
  5. Giving up. The divorce process can be long, stressful, emotional and a costly process. Most women “just want it over” and don’t want to deal with the daily pain and conflict of dealing with their soon to be ex. Giving up often means giving in. It is important to understand the true impact on your lifestyle for many years in the future, as settlement decisions are often impossible to reverse once final. You need someone to make sure you don’t trade expediency now for a better lifestyle later.

If someone you care about is thinking about a divorce or is currently going through a divorce, please feel free to have them contact us.  We will be happy to see if we can help.