Aug 27, 2014 I’m Getting Divorced. Who Can Help Me?

If you are going through a divorce right now, chances are high that you have a lot on your plate dealing with the death of your union. If you are the spouse who didn’t have much to do with managing the finances, you’re probably just now trying to learn what all of these things are…401(k), stock options, Pension, QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). You have decisions to make about where to live, what you can afford and how to parent in this new world. Top that all off with the actual divorce proceedings and it is no wonder that you just want to get it all over with as soon as possible; but rushing through the financial decisions associated with a divorce without consulting qualified professionals can have serious consequences for your future.

Now, it has been suggested in studies that we are less apt to make good long term decisions when we are faced with short term stress.* To a large extent, the actual divorce proceedings is primarily a division of property. Many couples simply try to determine what is fair and split it; this method can trigger unnecessary taxes, capital gains or require an asset to be sold at an unfavorable value. When I look at couples that have different financial IQ’s separating property themselves, it makes me cringe. In the end, many of the decisions get made because they are easier, or quicker, not because they are right. I think it is time to get help.

Often times this is when we get called. And sometimes we can help you learn the investment language well enough to understand what is going on; but when you are mired down in a crisis even though you may understand what you have now it is almost impossible to relate to what that really means for the future. You have polled all your friends and their experiences are all so different. What do you need to do? What you really need now is a good attorney.

The most expensive divorce is the one you have to do twice. You should hire an attorney. Not because you like them, not because you want to “get back” at your spouse, but because you need to hire someone who can negotiate what is fair for you financially. If your spouse is calling and trying to get you to sign off on something or agree to terms that are going to change the entire future of your financial life, you need to be able to credibly tell them that you have hired someone to make those decisions. Please send it on to my attorney.

When you are facing so many choices going through your divorce, it is practically impossible to do high quality long term planning. You need to get through it before you can look at moving past it. Having a guide to make sure you stay on the road is imperative. Your future has changed. It will be a different path than you thought, but it can still be your best path forward.

*Gray, Jeremy R. “A bias toward short-term thinking in threat-related negative emotional states.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25.1 (1999): 65-75.

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