Planning and preparing for post-divorce life should begin long before the ink on the divorce decree is finalized. The sooner planning begins, the sooner individuals can move forward in the right direction when the dust settles. From finances to family matters, the following are things that can be done to ease the transition from married life to moving forward.
Children’s needs should come first which means that preparations should account for their educational, health, and safety needs. Children will also need considerable emotional support and counseling to help them adjust to the new normal. When planning for the needs of children, compromise is a promise that parents can make to their children that will help ease them through the transition.
Of course, parents will need to pay particular attention to arrangements for parenting time and parental responsibilities. Both parents and their collaborative family law attorney should be willing to meet as close to the middle as possible on issues such as holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc. This not only eases conflict, it helps make the transition easier for the children.
Divorce will have a significant impact on the budget and the financial impact of losing one income and maintaining two residences must be addressed early on. Individuals preparing for divorce should make arrangements to live within their own income as soon as possible. In most cases, housing is the largest expense individuals must account for and it is often purchased based on two incomes. As such, it is strongly advisable that individuals whose post-divorce budget would be stretched by holding onto the home strongly consider divesting themselves of the asset to avoid the liability that comes with it. Ultimately, the sooner an individual makes budgetary adjustments to cover food, shelter, and healthcare, the better the post-divorce picture.
Long-Term Financial Planning
Individuals preparing for divorce should meet with a financial advisor in the early stages of the divorce process. The advisor will thoroughly review the individual’s existing liabilities, including mortgages, student loans, as well as secured and unsecured debts. Once all the numbers are on the table, the advisor can recommend the best ways to secure existing assets and help shield the individual from tax and other liabilities in the divorce settlement. Most importantly, the advisor can help the individual take steps towards establishing a solid financial footing to move forward from once the divorce is finalized.