Most people do not get married with the expectation that they will get divorced. When a marriage deteriorates to the point at which divorce is inevitable, it can being on a range of different emotions. People experience anger, pain, frustration, loneliness, relief, and myriad other emotions as a result of divorce. While the period of time following a divorce is inherently difficult, it is important to revisit financial matters as soon as possible to make sure you are on the right track. The following tips can provide you with some suggestions about financial security after a divorce.
If you have inherited formerly shared assets that may have both your name and your former spouse’s name on them, or in some cases only your former spouse’s name, you will need to work on re-titling them. Sometimes, this can be a complicated process, especially with high-value assets like property. However, it is extremely important to make sure that you follow through with the provisions of the divorce agreement to re-title assets as soon as possible. This will not only help you tie up loose ends that could linger if your spouse’s name remains on these assets, but it can also help you move forward in your new life with a sense of ownership and independence.
Pay Attention to Your Credit
Credit is a crucial part of financial independence. If you are emerging from a divorce, it is possible that your personal credit could have taken a hit as a result of the divorce agreement. For instance, you may have inherited a substantial amount of credit debt from the marriage that you will need to make regular, timely payments against.
You will also need to establish your own independent credit, especially if your spouse was predominantly in charge of financial matters during your marriage. Even if you and your former spouse had joint credit cards, it is still extremely important to establish your own credit. Your credit will affect many of your options as you navigate the divorce process and emerge from it, so it is important to understand your credit situation and take proactive steps to improve it. A little bit of work on your credit can help save you time and money in the long run.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Assets and Investments
Your divorce decree will help spell out the division of property and other assets from your marriage. It is important that you make sure you understand the nuances related to the value of such assets. For instance, if you will be retaining one or more properties, you will need to become intimately familiar with the real estate market and your obligations as a home owner in order to make sure you can protect the value of such property.
You may also want to consider developing an investment strategy. This is especially important if you will not be walking away from a marriage with any stake or a reduced stake in retirement accounts you shared during the marriage. This involves understanding the nature of various types of retirement accounts as well as other investment strategies that can help you save for a rainy day. You may have certain investments that you do not need or that do not provide the benefit you want them to. A detailed review of your financial portfolio can help you identify assets that may no longer serve their purpose, and you can then work to determine how to dispose of them properly.
Sell Assets You Do Not Need
Much like some investment strategies that worked for you during your marriage may not work for you after a divorce, you may acquire some assets through the division of property that you simply do not need or want. When this happens, look into selling them. You will want to find out the fair market value of such assets first, and then explore various ways that you can dispose of that property in the most beneficial way. For instance, while selling some of those assets can provide you with an immediate influx of cash, there may be other assets that will provide more benefits to you should you decide to donate them and claim that donation on your taxes. Getting rid of assets that you no longer want or need will not only help strengthen your financial security, but doing so can also help you move on by allowing you to make positive use out of items that could otherwise have painful memories attached to them.
Explore the Benefits of Moving
Divorce can be one of the most stressful life experiences you will ever have to navigate. That is why working with an experienced Florida divorce attorney can help provide you with peace of mind throughout the divorce process. Many people also cite moving as another of life’s most stressful experiences. If you and your former spouse have decided that one of you will retain rights to specific property instead of working together to sell and divide the profits associated with the sale, you need to consider the pros and cons of remaining in that property.
Even though moving is stressful, there may be some benefits to moving after a divorce. In addition to helping you get a true fresh start, moving can be a sensible financial decision. If you will be keeping the marital home or other property, you need to make sure you fully understand how that will impact your monthly budget. Remember, you will likely be paying for that property with only your income as opposed to being able to rely on two incomes. Adding in the cost of utilities without another income supplementing these obligations can put a real strain on your finances, especially during a period of time where it is difficult to predict how the post-divorce period will impact your financial security.
Revisit Financial Planning Documents
If you and your spouse shared retirement plans or other investment accounts, it is important that you redesign these assets to reflect sole ownership on your part. In some cases, this could be as simple as updating a beneficiary form. For other, more complex assets like some trusts, you may need to cancel the original plan and reform it to reflect the change in your circumstances. It is important to re-title all of your assets, but revisiting these assets is also important. At the same time, you may need to also revisit your estate planning portfolio to make sure that your estate planning documents continue to accurately reflect your wishes after a divorce.
Maintain the Relationship with Your Divorce Attorney
One of the most important things you can do to make the divorce process easier on yourself is to plan ahead and make sure you are prepared for the financial demands that will arise after your divorce agreement has been approved by the court. Your Florida divorce attorney can be incredibly helpful even after your divorce is finalized. It is important to maintain a relationship with your lawyer even after the final divorce settlement has been entered. Not only can he or she help you revisit custody arrangements, child support arrangements, and/or spousal support arrangements, but your attorney can also work with you to understand important details related to the suggestions above. Contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation during which you can find out more about how divorce might impact you during and after the process as well as more information about how to approach divorce in a healthy, positive manner.