One of the top four negative life experiences is divorce. It is heart melting and gut-wrenching.
Divorce affects all parties involved. The husband and wife will ultimately have a reduction in income and/or an increase in expenses. Families and friends will be divided and most importantly children will be caught in the middle.
The fact is 52 percent of all marriages end in divorce.
Some people have financial problems but sometimes we don't realize that these problems are big enough to end the marriage. If your marriage still ends up in divorce even after a heart-to-heart talk with your spouse, you need to create an exit strategy and rebound after the divorce.
When it's time to move on, you need to pick your head up, regain your confidence and strut. You also need to revise your W4 (withholding allowance certificate) because it most probably states there that you're married with a number of exemptions. Since you are now single, you have to claim single. Next is changing your beneficiary designations.
You may have put your spouse's name on your retirement accounts, pension plans and life insurance policies, etc. So before your ex-spouse and his/her new partner can take advantage of that, you may want to change your designated beneficiary immediately. Additionally you need to update your will, and power of attorney. Do you want your ex-spouse to take your various assets? Do you want your ex-spouse to decide on major medical decisions for you? Do you want your ex-spouse to take over your finances if something unfortunate happens to you? If the answer to all questions is no, then you should update your will, living will and power of attorney.
In a separation agreement or divorce decree, it may state who's responsible in paying certain bills, so next stop is closing all joint loans and credit cards. Both spouses will be held liable if both names are on the loan. So close out all credit cards and loans and transfer balances to accounts listed exclusively in the name of the person who's responsible in paying them. For getting names off a title, deed, mortgage and car note, you need special handling. You need to talk to an expert to ensure that you do things right.
Maintaining the same standard of living, lifestyle and expenses that you had when you were married on a reduced single person income is one of the most common mistakes divorced couples make. So, make sure you plan for this properly. If your divorce settlement is complicated, you may want to consider using a financial expert to help you with your financial projections.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Business Valuators / CPAs