Three steps to getting to grips with money when you’re planning to divorce
There’s no getting around the fact that money is a huge factor – both in life and in divorce. We all need it! And equally, there’s no getting around the fact that the only way to understand your money situation is to look it in the eye, rather than bury your head in the sand.
This can be particularly tough if you’ve not had an equal say in financial issues throughout your marriage. Maybe your soon-to-be-ex was the one who handled the bills and the money decisions. Or maybe your financial situation is particularly complicated.
Whatever the state of your finances, it all starts with getting clear. There are three steps to getting to grips with money when you’re planning to divorce. Here they are:
Take a money snapshot
The first step is to get clear on what your money situation is. What do you have to your name – what are your assets? Think about the obvious things like your home, belongings and valuable items such as jewellery or antiques. But you need to go deeper than that. Think about any savings, trusts, pensions or investments you have. Get organised and make a list of everything you own, either singly or jointly, and note down account numbers.
Now it’s time to think about anything you owe – your liabilities. Debts, mortgages, credit cards all fall into this category. Check whether the debts are yours alone (for example, a credit card in your name will be your debt) or joint (if you are both named on the mortgage it will be a joint debt).
Take your time and do this thoroughly, accessing the paperwork you need to get an accurate picture. Part of the court process is financial disclosure, whether through statements from you and your soon-to-be-ex or through completing the Form E. Getting organised now will make the process so much easier.
Think about your future life
Once you know where you stand now, you need to look to the future. What do you want your future life to look like? This is a time to return to your values, prioritising the things that are most important.
It’s also time to be realistic. Perhaps we would all like a Manhattan penthouse, but it’s unlikely to happen as a result of divorce unless your financial circumstances allow for it!
Think about your capital needs (what money do you need to afford a home, for example) and your income needs – the money you need to live on each month. If you have children, bear in mind that their financial needs will need to be met one way or another too.
Create a proposal
Once you have a sense of where you are now, and where you want to be, it’s time to get some thoughts down about how to make it work.
It’s important to bear in mind the bigger picture here, and to plan for the long term, including the impact of tax, and of lifestyle changes as any children grow. If you are working with a mediator, they can help with this. You may also want to take independent financial advice.
Sometimes, tackling the money issue can be one big relief. You’ve looked it in the eye and now know where you stand. If you realise that money is an issue, here are 7 things to do when money gets in the way of your divorce.
Often though, it can feel like jumping down a rabbit hole and not knowing where to turn. If that’s how you’re feeling, Clarity Over Coffee can help.
Clarity Over Coffee is my flexible support package, focussing on the issues on your mind right now. It’s a way of getting clear, sharing the burden and knowing you’re not making ill-informed decisions. We have a 30 minute call each week, and in between you have Voxer access – meaning you can message me with any questions, panics or insights in between, knowing you’ll get a swift reply.
It’s a way of walking the walk with professional and emotional support, giving you confidence that you’re handling your financial planning with your head as well as your heart.
If that sounds like just the thing to get your finances on track and your divorce plans moving, just message me today to book in a chat, and we can take it from there.
The Divorce Alchemist
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com