Many women going through a divorce find themselves responsible for their own finances for the first time in many years — if not for the first time ever. This can be particularly daunting for women whose husbands always took care of the household budgeting. When there are children who depend on you, the responsibility can seem overwhelming.
You and your family law attorney want to seek a divorce settlement that will allow you to support yourself and your children as you rebuild your life. You’ll also want to determine exactly what accounts, investments, retirement savings and other assets you have as well as what debts you are responsible for. That’s a big step toward planning for the future.
There are a number of decisions you can make during the divorce proceedings that will impact your financial future. For example, many women want to keep the family home, particularly if they have children who have grown up there. However, despite the emotional attachment you may feel to your home, the cost of maintaining it may not be feasible.
A key step to taking control of your finances as a newly-single woman is to create a budget for yourself. It may be worthwhile to consult a financial advisor if you don’t already have one to help you determine where you may have to cut back on expenses to live off of your income, including any spousal and child support payments.
While you’re probably most interested in short-term planning, don’t neglect long-term planning. You want to continue saving for retirement. An experienced financial advisor will help you keep those long-term goals in mind. You may want to look at long-term care insurance and other means of preparing to support yourself in your senior years if you need assisted living or other care.
Separating your assets and debts from your estranged spouse’s can be tricky. Your attorney and financial advisor can advise you on how to do that so that your ex-spouse cannot access accounts that are now yours alone.
Your family law attorney can probably recommend one or more financial professionals who are experienced in working with newly-divorced people. It’s best to have your own financial advisor who will look out for your interests rather than rely on one that worked for you and your former spouse. This will help get you on the road to a financially secure second act of your life.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “Money Matters: Women, take control of your finances after divorce or death of a spouse,” Peter J. Hartwick, April. 29, 2015