A hearty welcome back to the free bird state of being single. And if you maintained your friendships as a married woman with your single gal pals, we’ll be happy to be there for you, too. In order to make the transition as financially healthy as possible, here are key suggestions from divorce experts across the country.
Taxes to negotiate during separation
Think if you want child support or alimony. Debbie DeChambeau, a divorced insurance agent shares. “As of this writing, child support is not taxed, but alimony is. There are creative ways that you can receive income that serves the same purpose as alimony, but might not be taxed, so explore those options. Put money away from each alimony check.” And don’t forget to get credit cards in your name, as suggested by financial expert, Jennie Holiday.
Attorney Jay Mueller suggests that when you’re even thinking about divorce, find out if your marriage took place in a community property state. “In states that do provide for spousal support, the length of the marriage is often a major consideration.” Lisa Decker, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, has a great website that explains what’s best in the divorce asset split.
Removing his name and rights
Estate Planning attorney Leanna Hamill offers these tips. “You need to review what access you gave to your spouse during marriage that should now be revoked (access to medical information via a health care proxy, access to bank accounts via a Power of Attorney).”
Hamill also suggests divorcing women have “...removed their former spouse from any life insurance policies or other accounts with beneficiary designations and that they have drafted a new Will and other estate plan documents.”
Establishing your wealth
Christine Clifford, CEO of Divorcing Divas suggests these key, practical actions which are among hundreds of tips she lists on her site. “1.) Know every bank account, credit card # and balance, investments, remaining mortgage on the house, balances on car payments, etc. 2.) Remove any family heirlooms that you brought to the marriage and put them in safe keeping. 3.) Have an appraiser come take a complete inventory of your personal possessions. Document every item in your home.”
Sharon O’Neill agrees. “Make copies of all important paperwork in the household. Keep a log of how she spends money, to get a more realistic assessment of how she lives. Absolutely read all mail re: bills, statements, etc. Consider what items can be purchased, such as a newer car, to be in balance with her husband. Cash that is normally and legitimately yours, become as conservative as you can with it, and what you do not need to spend, put into a personal/private safety deposit box.”
Remember it’s a stressful time, so eat, sleep well, and be good to yourself throughout the entire process.