You want to do everything you can to keep your family together. This often includes ignoring all signs that things are spiraling out of control. Whether your spouse initiates the divorce or you are the one to call it quits, denial of how drastically your life will change may be part of what keeps you going. Many women, for the sake of their children, try to keep things as normal as possible. This often includes living in the same spacious home and spending the same amount of money as you did when your income was combined. While your goal is to create stability, your denial of the need to cut back can quickly lead to a mountain of debt. My goal is to help you avoid this common pitfall.
The Many Reasons for Post-Divorce Debt
Every marriage and its financial circumstances are unique, but statistics show that women experience a 73 percent reduction in their standard of living and that 40 percent of households headed by women live in poverty. Here are just a few of the contributing statistics:
Many married couples were already living paycheck to paycheck with a substantial amount of debt.
Women who worked as homemakers now must re-enter the workforce, often earning less due to their extended absence.
Women who were gainfully employed still earn just $0.79 cents per every dollar earned by men.
Women don’t just have themselves to support, but also their children. Even if your divorced partner pays child support or spousal support, this often isn’t enough to maintain your current lifestyle.
Women who were the primary bread winners now may have to juggle paying spousal support and all expenses for their children.
Moving Past Denial and Safeguarding Your Financial Future
When you and your spouse decide to separate or divorce, there are significant short-term and long-term financial decisions you must make. The largest roadblocks to making sound financial decisions during divorce are emotionally-driven decisions, not understanding your options and underestimating the short- and long-term impact of your decisions.
As challenging as it is to face, the sooner you accept your new reality the sooner you can begin safeguarding your financial future. Before you make any decisions, even seemingly minor ones, you must secure a professional divorce team, one that is familiar with your state’s regulations and laws. This could include any combination of:
A divorce attorney
A Certified Financial Analyst®
A family therapist
A child advocate
Where to Begin
Regarding finances, one of the first things you must start with is a full disclosure of assets, liabilities, income and debt. Maryland has put in place laws for dividing marital property and debts, designed to ensure items are properly valued, calculated and divided. Virginia has something similar. This is not something you tackle alone and is a common mistake many women make when scrambling to make divorce-related decisions.
Our goal at Linden Oak Wealth Partners is to help you make sound financial decisions, particularly in the stressful and emotional time of separation and divorce. Before you agree to or sign anything related to finances, assets or debt, please reach out to me for a consultation. Even if some decisions have already been made, we can be proactive about the future of your financial well-being.
Linden Oak Wealth Partners is here to assist women in all transitions of life, including working as your dedicated CDFA during your divorce. We will work with you and your spouse to gather all required financial documents, as well as visualize the long-term outcomes of various settlement options.
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