Untangling Finances in a Divorce

For some people, marriage is a tangle of dead vines. Wrapped up in that mess is a little green sprout of life. Working with clients that are going through a divorce is often like having to untangle and cut back the dead branches. Creating two viable finances from one is a delicate, complicated task. We have to make room for the living branches to grow.

I help divorcing couples make sense of the financial side of their divorce process. At times, sorting through the numbers can be like pruning away the dead branches. In the end, my clients have a path to become purposeful, vibrant, and strong individuals again.

There are times when one party is so hurt that they just want to give up everything. There are other times when the pain causes them to be so vengeful that they try to use the finances as a weapon—a debilitating weapon.

Divorce is a change of direction, a new chapter in life and the beginning of many changes. Your life will not be the life you knew before. The transition is going to take time. If there is one thing I try to stress to my clients, it’s that the transition is the time for you to take action.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you are not employed and are given spousal support or a property settlement, use this opportunity to seek out the training you need to support yourself in a career you love.
    • Don’t wait until after spousal support ends to decide these things.
    • During the divorce process, start looking for what additional training or certifications you may need and how much will it cost. When the divorce is final, it may be too late to receive help from your former spouse.
  • Where are you going to live and how much will it cost you? Staying in the marital home for the children’s sake may be emotionally ideal, but not financially viable. You may have to move to something more affordable.
  • If you have some decisions made on splitting assets before you went to an attorney, keep those commitments. If there is an item of contention, do your absolute best to make an agreement.
    • For example, if you have three couches and can’t agree on who gets what, don’t blow up everything you have already decided and cause your case to go to court.
      You will need to weigh the cost of “the couch” vs. the cost of “hiring two attorneys for the court proceedings.”

The process of divorce is like an entangled bunch of dying vines. In the untangling process, look for the little green leaf that sprouts when you get rid of the dead vines. You both will also grow into independent people, free from the tangle of the dead vines.

Meredith Dekker CDFA™, ADFA™

About the Author

Meredith Dekker

Meredith Dekker, with Dekker Divorce Financial Consulting, is a certified divorce financial analyst in Arizona helping you navigate the divorce process to find a clear path to your financial future.

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