Nobody likes thinking about endings. While beginnings are bright and playful things full of possibility, endings tend to be darker and fraught with complicated emotions. Even when things need to end, it can be really difficult to do so. Relationships are no exception to this rule.
It can be overwhelming when you need to think about ending your relationship and filing for divorce. I had to do it once and it was really hard. Because it was hard, I ended up ignoring some of the things I should have been paying attention too – like money.
Here are 3 things you can do to financially survive your divorce:
Be as Prepared as Possible Before You Start the Process
Above anything else, divorce is a legal process and like most legal processes, it can get complicated. If you can, try and take the time to get educated before you start the divorce process. If not, start as early as you can and don’t be shy about asking questions.
Consult legal and financial professionals, read as many books as possible, and talk to people who have gone through it before. It will help you understand your options and you’ll be able to put yourself in the best possible situation for the next steps. It might be really hard to think like this but making sure you look after yourself financially is important.
Make sure you document everything, that you have copies of all your financial assets and debts, and that your insurance records are in order. If you have separate property that you have inherited through your family, ensure that you have papers that prove that fact so it can stay with you.
Try Mediation to Work Out Your Differences
Divorce can be a long and expensive process, especially if you have lots of assets together. It’s really tough but it’s important to try and separate fact and emotion so you can both answer the tough questions and move on.
If it’s in your power, do your best to avoid a costly court battle – especially if it’s over stuff. Most of the time, what you pay out in lawyer’s fees will be more than what the actual belongings are worth. Mediation will be less damaging and draining to you personally and financially so grit your teeth and get to work.
Sell the house and split the costs. Avoid cashing in your investments, if you can, so you can avoid the taxes and penalties. Instead, divide them by accounts and sign them over accordingly.
Rebuilding Your Financial Life Afterwards
When it’s all done and over, it can almost feel like you are starting over again. In actuality, that is exactly what you’re doing. Maybe that’s scary but it’s also pretty awesome. You get to redesign your life in exactly the way you want too. Financially, you’re probably living a little leaner than you’re used to but it’s a starting point. You get to decide what your priorities are now and it’s time to focus on you.
Start rebuilding your investments with small monthly payments into your retirement accounts. Rethink your career, if you need too, and start bucking for that promotion or making a plan to go back to school. Buy a good private health insurance plan so you and your children are always covered for medical emergencies and prescriptions. Before you know it, you’ll have built a sound financial future for you and yours and an amazing life.