How to survive a divorce financially... and emerge in the best shape possible
Divorce. It's an ugly word, one you never thought would apply to you... or if you're fortunate, one that never will.
As with a death in the family, it's no easier if you saw it coming; if you didn't, a tremendous shock is added to your distress. One widow described herself as a torpedoed ship barely able to limp into port. "All she could do was keep moving, praying for safe passage. She needed a barge to pull her boat safely to port."
Her words can describe women facing divorce just as well.
Divorce can make you emotionally and financially vulnerable
Divorce hurts women not only emotionally but financially. Some of the worst financial decisions are made during the throes of divorce ... decisions that can affect the rest of your life and the lives of your family. And a divorce attorney's ability to help your financial situation—both now and in the future—can be limited.
Which situation are you facing?
1 } Your spouse has just told you he wants a divorce... but you need his income to maintain your (or your family's) standard of living
You had no idea he was thinking of a divorce. Now you're in turmoil; besides all the emotions, you wonder if you can survive the divorce financially. What will you live on? Will it be enough? Where will you live? Maybe you sacrificed your career to support his and you've been out of the workforce so long, your skills are no longer current. What type of job will you be able to get, if any?
You're not even sure you'll have access to enough money to hire a divorce attorney or advisor; your husband may have handled all the finances for both of you, or maybe he has moved the family's money into other accounts you can't reach or don't even know about.
2 } Your divorce has begun... and it could endanger your ability to make a living
You're highly visible in your community or career. As a celebrity, executive or successful woman business owner, your divorce can put your position and even your livelihood at risk in ways other women never have to consider. What will happen to your public image and your privacy? There are few safe havens for you, and stress seems to come from all sides.
Because you've been successful, you worry you'll be forced to pay alimony or give up hard-earned assets... even if the divorce was no fault of your own. Maybe your husband was also your business partner; will you end up having to sell your own business to pay him for his share or to survive the divorce financially? Even if he wasn't, are there enough other assets to prevent a judge from ordering a fire sale of your business to cover the percentage of marital assets owed him?
3 } You're considering filing for divorce... or you already have
A thousand thoughts are swirling through your mind. How financially secure will you be after the divorce... and for how long? Will you be able to maintain your standard of living and your relationships after it's all said and done? How will you support yourself and your family on your own? Will you lose assets you brought to your marriage?
4 } You've survived a divorce... now you're concerned about making your settlement last
Most of the upheaval of your divorce is behind you, but your financial worries are growing. You know the amount of your divorce settlement; what you don't know is whether it will be enough to cover your day-to-day living expenses, pay for college and get you all the way through retirement. Will you outlive your assets? How can you ensure you can keep the assets you most treasure, rather than later selling them to survive?
5 } You’re a woman business owner, and divorce is not in your picture
You’ve never heard of divorce-proofing and you’re not really sure you need it. You own a successful or up-and-coming business, though, and you’d like to ensure it remains yours. You don’t like the idea of a judge forcing you to sell your company or turn part of it over to an ex-spouse in the event of a future divorce.
Because divorce-proofing your business is part of a sound financial plan, like any other risk management you would normally undertake—after all, you have insurance to protect you against other unforeseen events—you’re smart enough to consider it. And if a divorce doesn’t end up being in your future, your financial situation will just be that much stronger when you’re done divorce-proofing your business. That’s the ending we all want.
6 } You’re married, and you have no intention of divorcing
Many women never encounter divorce… and we’ll be genuinely happy if it never happens to you. That said, many women have been blindsided by a husband’s request for a divorce seemingly out of the blue, and others find themselves facing the unexpected illness or death of a spouse.
It’s our goal to help prepare these women so they’re not sent scrambling into a panic if an unexpected divorce, illness or death does happen. If they don’t happen, we still help each woman make her financial future as stable and strong as possible. We’d like to do the same for you.
Our Just In Case™: Secure Your Financial Future session, recently profiled by CBS News, is a 60-minute session designed to address the most important financial steps you can take to protect yourself and your family in the event of a sudden turn of events. (And your husband might be surprisingly happy to see you taking an active role in the family finances.)
You're looking for answers
No matter your situation, our founder, Jeffrey Landers, a Divorce Financial Strategist™ (a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst [CDFA™] with advanced training in divorce financial planning strategies and asset protection), can create a smart financial strategy for you. . If you're in New York City, Jeff is available to work with you in person if desired; if you live elsewhere in the United States, he will work with you via phone, email, fax, and/or FedEx.
Please contact us and we'll tell you more about our divorce financial strategy process.
Divorce settlement mistakes can last a lifetime
The emotional upheaval of a divorce can make you want to bury your head in your pillow... for years. There's no question, divorce is a time of great anxiety; psychologists consider it the second most stressful event in a lifetime, lower only than the death of a spouse. If your emotions are running in overdrive, you're normal.
And yet this is your moment. Financially, this is your opportunity to provide for the rest of your life. When it's over, you can't go back for a do-over. While it can be tempting on so many days to just give up and sign on the dotted line, don't. You owe it to yourself and those who depend on you.
As much as you can, view the financial end of the divorce like a business deal or a salary negotiation. It is—and it can easily be the most important one of your life.
Now is the time to act wisely... but you don't have to do it alone
Before you do anything else, assemble a first-rate legal and financial divorce team to represent and support you
We're the financial part of your divorce team: as your financial strategist and advisor, we'll work hand in hand with you and your attorney to guide you through your divorce, no matter how complex or stressful it gets. Our job is to make sure you're financially covered before, during, and after your divorce, while your divorce attorney will handle legal matters, including settlement negotiations. (Need a divorce attorney recommendation? Let us know.)
We'll take care of the critical financial tasks that are beyond the scope of your divorce attorney's expertise, from preparing the financial affidavitsFinancial Affidavits are a complete list of your income from all sources, your monthly expenses, and your assets and liabilities. you'll need to projecting the financial implications of different divorce settlement options, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each one, all to make sure you'll be financially okay now and in the future. Is your spouse pressuring you to sign an agreement based on his assertion of your financial rights? We'll tell you the truth; if he's bluffing, you'll immediately know.
Anyone—no matter how savvy—can use an expert guide through treacherous and unfamiliar terrain. We'll serve as your financial ally as you approach this major life change... shoring up your financial position so you enter the divorce process prepared, developing a solid financial strategy for your divorce so you emerge in the best shape possible, and if desired, protecting your new assets and helping you extend the life of your settlement afterward.
Contact us today and we'll tell you more about how we develop divorce financial strategies for the women who come to us for help, so you'll know exactly what to expect. We work with women across the nation from our Manhattan headquarters, and in most cases travel is never required. Your inquiry will be kept absolutely confidential.