LIFE series: Divorce

We are back with You-Only AdviceTM , where we cover the best days, and, the hardest days too.


Marriage and divorce both bring a flood of emotions, for marriage, we experience great joy and hopefulness. However, divorce often brings fear and uncertainty. As planners, we do not want you to make decisions, financial or otherwise, out of fear. While your heart will heal from a broken relationship, poor financial decisions could follow you for a lifetime.

Understanding your financial footing before you bring up the topic of divorce is critical. Once the “D word” is used, paranoia, fear and negative emotions can complicate even the most amicable approach to ending a marraige.

Contemplating Divorce

If you are contemplating divorce, it is critical that you think through priorities for yourself, making a list of your top priorities in the areas of division of property, division of financial assets, and the welfare of your children. It is also helpful to consider what your spouse’s priorities are as well.

If you are overwhelmed and unsure where to begin, create an inventory worksheet going room by room in your house. In the most basic way, walk into a room, ask yourself, “What do I see” and note the following information: name of the item, details of an item (age, color, brand name), when did you purchase/receive the item, its current value, and who will keep the item.

Example from a living room:

I see our couch, it is oatmeal color, two years old, from Macys. We bought the sofa in 2022, its current value is $1,000 and I will keep the couch.

In addition to an inventory worksheet, it is also necessary to make an asset and liabilities worksheet. Make note of what assets you and your soon to be ex-spouse own and how they are titled:

·      Cash: checking accounts, savings or money market accounts

·      Investment accounts: joint and individual investment accounts, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement accounts, pensions, and 529 college savings plans

·      Real estate: your home, and vacation or rental properties, farmland (even if you’re a partial owner)

·      Businesses

·      Insurance: life insurance policies, long-term care policies, annuities

·      Other high value assets: collectibles, art, jewelry

·      Debt: Mortgages, student loans, credit cards, auto loans


No Turning Back

If you know that dissolving your marriage is the only option, you will have numerous factors to consider, below are questions by category to get you started:


·      If you own a home, will you sell the home, or will someone remain in the home?

·      If you are the person to stay, how will you compensate your ex for their half of the value in the home?

·      Who will pay the mortgage and other expenses (utilities, lawn care, maintenance, etc.) during the divorce process?


·      How will you split money in cash and investment accounts?

·      How will you divide big ticket items (cars, boats, furniture, etc.)?

·      Will one person pay spousal support?


·      Will one person pay child support?

·      If you have children, how will college expenses and or other expenses (school clothes, braces, activities, etc.) be covered?

·      If you have children, how will health insurance be handled?


Things Went Downhill

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding financial information or assets, find and make copies of the following:

·      Bank statements

·      Checkbooks and canceled checks

·      Savings account information

·      Personal tax returns

·      Business tax returns

·      Gift and Estate tax returns

·      Financial reports for business and personal (i.e., balance sheets, income statements)

·      Credit Reports

·      Applications for loans

·      Life insurance policies


If you find yourself in this space, you are not alone. As with any life event, we are here to offer guidance and support.

Next up, we will look at all a New Job brings.

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