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3 Hard Financial Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Divorce


Post by David A. Emery, CFP®, CDFA®

When it comes to divorce, the question of how to split money is not enjoyable and seldom easy, but it can make the difference long-term in recovering from divorce and re-establishing personal happiness. Poorly-executed divorces can mean years of lasting pain, and mistakes made early on are all the more difficult to correct down the line. While it can feel impossible to sift through the emotional wreckage and think about real-world consequences, it’s best to give yourself a moment early on to get ahead and set yourself up for a fair financial settlement, so that when the divorce is over it’s truly over and you can move on that much more easily.

Through our work with clients, we’ve helped with a number of divorce cases over the years. We’d like to share with you a few things we’ve learned along the way, both how to approach a financial advisor about an emotionally difficult topic, and what you should be focusing on from the get-go. 

First, and most importantly, take a deep breath, look in the mirror and reflect on what you want your post-divorce life to look like.  Likely there are a number of factors involved, such as who will have the kids, where you want to live, how much income you want or need. Think about those things and what a fair, or even least-bad, situation would look like. It’s that much easier to set yourself up for post-divorce life with specific goals in mind.

Secondly, assemble a team. This is especially important for spouses who may be unused to handling the household finances. Getting ready for divorce is not the time to turn yourself into a personal finance whiz, take up accounting, or delve into family law. There are experts on these topics for a reason. They are there to help you navigate a difficult situation without having to do the heavy lifting on your own, and it’s best to retain the ones pertinent to your situation. Talk to them early, with a goal in mind, and they will help you get to where you want to be. Even if you retain someone just for a few hours to explain your situation and get some professional advice on how best to proceed, you’ll be far better served than trying to do it yourself or hoping it all works out.

It can be difficult for people going through a divorce to bring up the subject, even with professionals. If it is, it’s good to remember that there are seasoned professionals who deal with divorces for a living. You can rest assured that professionals on the team you assemble will know how to deal with even the most difficult cases.

If you take these steps early on, you will be much further on the road to finding your way towards a financially and emotionally stable post-divorce life.

Planning Capital Management Corp is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC, and we are held to a fiduciary standard with all of our clients. We offer full financial planning in conjunction with investment advice and portfolio management. Should you have any questions or concerns about current market conditions, or just general financial planning questions, schedule a call with us!