You've held on – for sake of family, holidays, and hope for change. But January comes with a resounding request for all of us to examine our lives and find areas for improvement. For some, a gym membership is in order. For others, a more clearly focused budget will be developed to curtail unnecessary spending. But for yet another group, an even bigger change is in the air: Divorce. January through March have earned the reputation for being the months with the highest incidence of couples filing for divorce.
According to an analysis of divorce filings by FindLaw.com, a legal-information website, between 2008 and 2011, divorces spiked in January, continued to rise through February, then peaked in late March.
Perhaps it’s the gloomy weather, lingering family conflict from the holidays, maybe a lack of romance around Valentine’s Day, or the enactment of New Year’s Resolutions. Whatever the reason, the first three months of the year are looked upon as “time to get the divorce in action.”
So where does one start when they’ve come to the conclusion that the relationship needs to come to an end? Most start with a combination of online information searches and conversations with friends. These info-hungry spouses are arming themselves with everything they need to know about the process of divorcing. Or are they?
Recently, a client of mine came to me feeling confident that she had considered all the angles she should in preparing for the dissolution of her marriage. However, there were some key points she had overlooked – as do many others. The most common factors I see that are not considered when preparing for divorce are those that are not so obvious today – but will really matter a few years down the road. Our client needed to consider:
While their children are quite young and in a fine public elementary school now, they need to think about potential private high school and college expenses. Getting the details nailed down now of who may pay what what education expenses helps clients formulate their own savings and investment plans to assure they are prepared for those costs far down the road.
In this client’s case we suggested she hire a home inspector – and what a relief that she did! Her roof will need to be replaced within two years, and much to her surprise, she has mold growing in her basement due to poor ventilation. Those costs would have been completely on her shoulders in a very short time frame had she not uncovered them before the divorce negotiations were final!
If January comes to you with a divorce in your family – or someone close to you – be sure they have the right divorce team to help you or them face this change with preparation for not only what it means today, but for tomorrow as well. A key member of that divorce team is someone who is an expert in guiding divorcing couples through the financial ramifications of divorce and how best to insure that both parties have a solid financial footing moving forward. Consider including the eye of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to guide you through the many financial decisions you will make.
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