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Divorce and Your Money - #1 Divorce Podcast

Visit us at www.DivorceAndYourMoney.com Divorce and Your Money is your guide to avoiding costly mistakes during divorce. Shawn Leamon, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and MBA, wants to help you learn the fundamentals of how to get a divorce. Whether you are looking for an uncontested divorce, a do it yourself divorce, or an online divorce, resources are available to offer guidance. Through his divorce podcast and divorce blog, Shawn offers his professional opinion on the best ways to handle the end of your marriage. He covers topics including how to file for divorce, divorcing a narcissist, and finding the best divorce attorney. Even tricky subjects such as a “what is a QDRO?” and “is alimony taxable?” are tackled through these venues. If you need to know what the first steps are or what you should do to head to trial during litigation, you can find resources to give you a step-by-step guide to what comes next. Think of his advice as an alternative to divorce support groups where you can find exactly what you need when you need it. He offers one-on-one divorce coaching to give you a solid grasp on the decisions that are bound to affect your financial future. Before you have a divorce decree in hand, you will likely go through some type of divorce mediation. For any spouse saying, “I want a divorce,” you need to make sure that you are getting the financial future you are entitled to. Do not allow yourself to be blinded by the emotional, legal, and financial burden that divorce can become. Instead, take control of your situation with sage wisdom to help all individuals make better financial decisions for their independent future. If you find yourself asking “where are the best divorce lawyers near me?”, Shawn can help you to recognize the best of the best. Whether you need a divorce in Texas, a divorce in Florida, or a divorce in New York, you will have all the knowledge you need to find the best team of professionals to assist you. You can start from a place of being legally separated or once you have already started to file for divorce using free divorce papers or an attorney. No matter where you or your marriage may be in the process, Shawn Leamon has professional advice to offer your unique situation. A simple no fault divorce or a high-stakes power struggle are all areas he has vast experience with during his work outside of Divorce and Your Money. Let his advice be a guide to help you get all that you need for a secure financial future in your divorce records. It will not make a difference whether you are getting a divorce in Ohio or a divorce in California if you are following the basic principles set out through Divorce and Your Money’s divorce blog, divorce podcast, and divorce coaching.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Getting divorced in the United States is already complicated, but when you are facing  an international divorce, the complexity substantially increases.

If you are a US citizen getting divorced abroad, you will be facing at least two sets of laws: the law of the country in which you are getting divorced and the law of the US. You may have international custody issues. You may have trouble tracking down hidden assets. The whole process is much more difficult, so you will need an International Divorce Lawyer.

Choosing an International Divorce Lawyer

When it comes to international divorce, you will need more than one attorney. In a “simple” international divorce, you will need an international divorce lawyer based in the local country or countries in which you are getting divorced. Also, you will need a US-based lawyer to handle any issues related to American issues you may be facing.

For example, you are living in Spain with your spouse, who is a native of Spain but has assets in New York. Your spouse wants a divorce.

You will need a Spanish lawyer to handle the Spain-related elements of the case, as well as a New York attorney to handle the issues there. Preferably, you will have an international divorce lawyer in New York with experience handling cross-border divorce cases.

The complexity arises because you will be operating under the Spanish divorce process for many of the issues in your divorce. At the same time, you may also have to determine if decisions you make in Spain affect issues you deal with in the US.

Hidden Assets Are More Common

When facing divorce in multiple jurisdictions, it is easier for a spouse to hide or obfuscate assets. For example, when in Europe, hiding assets in another country is no more difficult than taking a 1-2 hour plane trip. South America and Asia pose their own unique challenges. You will need international divorce lawyers and investigators with local knowledge in any country that you suspect may house hidden assets.

Get Financial Help

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can be helpful for structuring the most financially advantageous settlement under normal circumstances. When dealing with assets listed across the world, a CDFA with international experience is a must. Simple items, like understanding currency transactions and the valuation of assets, and other unique elements (such as dealing with cross-border real estate and investments) add unique complications to the process.

Furthermore, you will need to make sure you have a local accountant help negotiate and approximate any potential tax consequences of financial decisions you are making. With international and local tax rules, there are plenty of complex areas. If you are not careful, you could be paying the price further down the line.

Consult all attorneys before signing a divorce settlement

Here is one of the biggest challenges with negotiating an international divorce: the issues you agree upon in one country do not necessarily have legal standing in the US, and issues decided in the US do not necessarily have legal standing outside our borders. Therefore, you can end up in a position where you think you have resolved a key element in your divorce, only to find out that what you agreed to does not apply to the other country.

Before you sign settlement agreements or other issues, be sure to consult with your entire team to determine the most important issues.

International Divorce is expensive

Unfortunately, international divorce can be more expensive than a US-only divorce, given the more complicated legal and financial issues at stake. You will likely have:

1) An international divorce lawyer

2) A US-based divorce lawyer

3) A CDFA

4) An international accountant

5) A local accountant

6) Other support

Make sure you build the right team to help you experience navigating complex international issues.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

Want more free divorce advice and tips?

Subscribe to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast, trusted by over 50,000 people across the United States.

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May 31, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Movies can be fun and entertaining. They can be a great night out, and maybe you used to enjoy them with your spouse.

However, as you now know, they can also cause a lot of unnecessary trouble. The concept of “happily ever after” is instilled in our minds far too often. We never see what happens after a couple falls in love. We never see the work and constant mental and emotional upkeep that a marriage requires. If only there were more movies about how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce.

If you are considering divorce, it is not a fun time. It is heartbreaking, harrowing, and sometimes even emotionally numbing. What can you do to save a marriage when all seems lost? How can you stop from falling over the edge? Is it even possible to save your marriage?

The good news is that there are a few things you can still try. You do not want to go to that fateful route without knowing that you tried everything you could. It requires you to take a very honest look at yourself and your spouse. If you are willing to do that, read on.

1) Ask yourself if any part of the marriage is worth saving.

Dig deep and remember those good times. What were the conditions, and how have they changed? It is possible to recreate some of those earlier conditions.

Are you able to still have fun and enjoy your time together, or is it constant bickering or ignoring? If there are no good times left and you cannot imagine having any in the future, you could have a problem.

Enjoying time with your spouse is essential for saving a marriage on the brink of divorce. It builds a feeling of family and security. When you share enjoyment, your serotonin levels are raised, and you bond with each other.

2) Be honest and evaluate if you are being fair to your spouse.

This is a tough one. It requires you to really dig deep and take a cold, hard look at yourself. Do you have a lot of stress in your life? If so, could it be clouding your judgement about your spouse? Sometimes if we have a lot going on, we can be hard on those closest to us without realizing it. This would cause them to be defensive, and a vicious cycle begins.

There is also the possibility that your spouse is having a lot of stress in his or her life. Then the cycle is reversed. You are put on the defensive as your stressed-out spouse is unfairly hard on you. Heaven help the marriage that involves two stressed spouses. If you realize that you are in this situation, now is a good time to consider stress-relieving activities, as they can be a great tool for saving a marriage.

3) Do not compare your marriage.

Comparing your marriage with someone else’s is a recipe for disaster. Just as no two people are the same, no two marriages will be the same. Do not fall for the “grass is always greener on the other side” hook. Appreciate what makes your spouse unique, and you might find ways to appreciate the marriage more.

4) Consider marriage counseling.

An outside mediator is always going to be able to objectively show you things that you cannot see when you are too close to the problem. A counselor can point out weaknesses in communication and help you find better ways of communicating, which is always a big factor. It is a blind spot in a marriage on the brink of divorce.

One reason many men block this idea is that they fear they are being set up to be attacked, but that is usually not the case. Counselors are trained to be objective and to make sure that neither spouse feels attacked. They get each party to see the walls they put up and how they sound to each other. They can get you outside of your own head. It can be a huge way to save marriages.

5) Take better care of yourself.

If you have let yourself go, it could be at the heart of a lot of your issues. Many of us do not like to admit it, but it is a very human urge to want to be attracted to your mate. However, a lot of times, once the relationship has gotten way past the comfortable phase, one or both people in the marriage lose interest in keeping themselves in shape. As much as we want it to be, love does not take away our need for attraction.

But here is the good news: if you are both up for it, starting healthy habits and routines together can do wonders for saving a marriage. Exercise raises the endorphins, and if you find activities you enjoy doing together, it will increase your bonding time. Healthy eating and cooking together will also create bonding, as well as an increase in health and well-being. Before you know it, you will both feel and look better.

6) Do not ignore the problems in your marriage.

Trying to pretend like everything is okay to avoid arguing only builds resentment, which will cause bigger arguments down the road. Acknowledging problems as they happen gives you a better chance at resolving them. Then you can stop that buildup of resentment, possibly pulling you back from the brink of divorce. It takes a lot of patience, work, and practice, but if you are serious about saving your marriage, it can be a powerful way to rebuild your relationship.

7) Open up in a non-defensive way.

Try to find non-accusing words to let your spouse know how you feel. Use feeling words instead of blaming words. For example, if you say “I feel” instead of “you always,” your spouse will be less defensive and more open to listening. The less the other person feels attacked, the more likely they are to listen to you.

8) Make each other a priority.

Ask your spouse if they feel important to you. It is likely you know the answer already. Not feeling valued or appreciated can open a whole host of other problems that are tied up with pent-up resentment, just like with ignoring problems.

Do you feel unimportant to them? Let them know in a non-defensive way. As discussed in the previous point, use feeling words, instead of blaming words. Making each other feel important also means feeling heard and understood. If both spouses make this kind of effort, it can be an incredible tool for saving a marriage.

9) Go back to the beginning, and date each other again.

What made you fall in love in the first place? Do you remember what you liked doing together when everything was good? Go on dates again. See if that spark is still there, and find out if you can cause those butterflies again.

10) Laugh together.

Laughter is one of the biggest causes of endorphins and serotonin, and it is an immediate mood enhancer. Go see a standup-comedy or improv show. Watch a TV show that you both find hilarious. Do something light together. Let yourself be open to laughing together. This tactic can an easy, fun way to find good in each other again, and it can make the fear of being on the brink of divorce seem far away.

11) Forgiveness is worth a shot for both of you.

What is it that your spouse has done that makes you feel the worst? Is it possible to forgive them? If you feel like there is no way you could ever forgive them, it is a big block to saving your marriage. Perhaps it is you who needs to be forgiven?  Is it possible to forgive yourself? These are questions that need to be honestly evaluated before making a final decision.

If you have gone through these things or realize that some of these things are not even an option in your marriage, you may have hit a wall. This is not the time to surrender to emotions, as that is when mistakes are made. You will have plenty of time for those later. Right now, you need to keep a level head, so outside help can be crucial. Otherwise, divorce may be the only answer.

Final thoughts

Have you tried everything, but you still cannot find a way to save your marriage? If so, reach out to somebody who is professionally trained to coach you during your divorce. A neutral third party can stop you from making all the common, costly mistakes. Do not let that be you.

As you lose your spouse and the life you built together, it is a time to grieve, but it is not the time to lose your finances.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

Subscribe to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast, trusted by over 50,000 people across the United States.

May 31, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Divorce may be the biggest life challenge you ever face. What do expert coaches recommend you do to prepare? We consulted with 21 Certified Divorce Coaches to share their #1 tip for how to prepare for divorce.  Check out their great advice below!

What’s your #1 tip for how to prepare for divorce?

Cherie Morris

The #1 tip for how to prepare for divorce is to start today to gather information and become an informed participant in the process. This requires a mindset for success. Achieving this perspective may require you to access feelings and skills that you may previously have avoided or did not have. A divorce coach can help with both. I will stand by your side, each step of the way, as you make all of the difficult choices surrounding the decisions in divorce, and will recommend additional resources as needed. You do not need to do this alone. You can thrive after divorce and I can show you how to empower yourself to do so.

To learn more about Cherie:

www.DearDivorceCoach.com

www.facebook.com/DearDivorce/Coach

www.twitter.com/DearDivorceTeam

Laura Bonarrigo

Do your emotional work. Understand why you are going through your divorce on an emotional level. It is your “modern day rite of passage” not just a fight, not just a headache, not simply “something to get through.” When you understand why you’re growing through this experience, all the other practical decisions are easier!

To learn more about Laura:

www.laurabonarrigo.com

Karen Mode Lightfield

My #1 tip to prepare for a divorce is to quietly meet with an attorney while contemplating a divorce to see how things might play out for them and their unique situation if they do file. I also advise those considering divorce to check reviews, ask others that are divorced for referrals, and interview potential attorneys until they find one they can work well with through each step of the process.

To learn more about Karen:

www.karenmodelightfield.com

Suzan Pearlstein

Our number one tip for preparing for divorce is to take the time to get clear about your values.  You must know what is most important to you and define what you stand for.  Once you identify  what your real priorities are it will  give you purpose and help you make decisions during and after the divorce that will move you in a positive direction to a new and better life.

To learn more about Suzan:

www.divorcecoachingaz.com

Kerry Porter

You must take control of your divorce process. When meeting with an attorney for the very first time, you should already have an outline of your strategy in mind, as well as a detailed, written plan on paper. Preparation is the key to ensuring that time, effort and money is not wasted, hiring a Certified Divorce Coach can prepare you.  Just as many couples getting married claim to save substantially by working with a wedding planner, hiring a Divorce Coach could be the best investment that you make, helping you to narrow down your options, organize your thoughts, and create a plan which will save you time, stress, and legal fees.

To learn more about Kerry:

www.divorceresponseteam.com

www.facebook.com/DivorceResponseTeam

https://www.instagram.com/divorceresponseteam/

Martha Bodyfelt

Learn how to plan and set goals for yourself. Divorce is overwhelming because you are stressed and filled with emotion, which it makes it hard to look beyond the day-to-day drama. But identifying what you want for yourself in the next week, the next month, the next three months, the next six months, even the next year, and listing those goals out puts you back in control of your life.  Once you identify what you hope to achieve, write down the steps to get there.When you take these steps, your stress and fear decrease. Your confidence starts to return. And you realize just how strong you are.

To learn more about Martha:

www.survivingyoursplit.com

www.facebook.com/survivingyoursplit

Mondana Nikoukari

"Owning" your divorce process from the beginning insures satisfaction about its terms many years later. Therefore, planning for your divorce should follow a process of carefully thought out decisions that reflect your long term future goals. Gather a support team of professionals you trust to be your sounding board and cheerleaders for the various facets of the divorce process.  Divorce coaches, financial experts, parenting coordinators, therapists and attorneys can educate you on the many paths and solutions that can make weighty decisions along the way clear, accessible and have successful long term outcomes.  In the long run, these supportive divorce services can save you money and personal anguish for years to come by helping you prioritize the things that are most important in your future.

To learn more about Mondana:

www.facebook.com/ctdivorcecoach

Angela Ianuale Shanerman

My best recommendation to anyone struggling or feeling stuck in their relationship, would be to work with a Certified Divorce Coach like myself. As your divorce coach, I am your thinking partner and champion for you, because you are the expert of your life. In the coaching process, you are going to gain more clarity and confidence in your decision-making, be able to really focus on your concerns, be heard in a safe nonjudgmental environment, so that you really have the best possible outcome. Every area of your life is at stake and impacted from the decisions you make (family, finances, children, parenting, career, etc.), how could you possibly go at it all alone!

To learn more about Angela:

www.angelashanerman.com

www.facebook.com/angelashanerman

Kira Gould

I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and that information about your financial situation and the divorce process will serve you well as you move through the dissolution of your marriage. But even more importantly, I encourage you to create some time and space to get in touch with who you are, and how you want to move through your divorce. What are your values? How do you want to be seen during and after your divorce? What are your intentions? To be collaborative, compassionate, financially responsible, present with your children? Get a journal and write some of this out. Get clear on what your priorities are. This act of journaling and gaining clarity can help be your touchstone and reminder when faced with any tough decision -- of which there may be many when going through divorce.

To learn more about Kira:

www.getting-unmarried.com

www.movingon.us

Kimberly Mishkin

As coaches, we help our clients understand that divorce is not solely a legal dilemma, nor is it just a financial question — it is a whole life challenge.  It's vital that you get educated, yes legally and financially, but also practically and emotionally as well.  This is not the time to go it alone, the decisions are too big and important — you must look for someone to guide you, to take your hand and to lead you as you navigate this difficult terrain.

To learn more about Kimberly:

www.sasforwomen.com

Sharon Qualls

Divorce can overwhelm your whole life.  One of the most important things to do once you have decided to move forward with divorcing is put together your team.  More and more people are seeing the value of a divorce coach as part of their professional team, providing clarity and focus, saving them money and time. Coaches help you choose the right professional team for your situation, your attorney and your CDFA, with a plan and these three professionals, you are on the path to creating a secure future beyond divorce.

To learn more about Sharon:

www.sharonqualls.com

Carron Nicks

No one is ever prepared for the length of time a divorce will take. And this is not always due to recalcitrant parties or obstructionist attorneys. Courts are clogged, and the process takes time: petition and answer, discovery, mediation, child evaluations, all take more time than you expect. I tell clients two years. If it takes less, they feel they've accomplished something.

My #2 tip for preparing for divorce: Consider collaborative divorce, even if you feel like you're giving up money or ground to your spouse. The process will take less of a toll on you, your family, and often your finances. And, if you have children, it will foster a sense of cooperation that will serve you well as you co-parent.

To learn more about Carron:

www.coachcarron.com

Pearl Flax

Take a deep breath, slow down and focus on what is most important. Your health and sanity are always of utmost importance in life, yet many people going through divorce neglect this known fact and allow pressure and stress to get to them. Before even entering the process promise yourself that you will walk this path slowly, take your time and listen to your subconscious mind and body. Educate yourself, try and do as much research as possible before making any rash decisions that you will later regret.

To learn more about Pearl:

www.pearlflax.com

Cindy Holbrook

Get a good solid support team because you are in for a wild emotional roller-coaster ride. Your support team will enable you to go get clear on what you want, make the divorce process as pain free as possible for everyone involved, save you time and money, and guide you as you transition into your newly single life. At the very least your support team should include an attorney, a certified divorce financial analyst and a divorce coach, so that you can begin to create the next chapter in your life - a life where you know peace and happiness.

To learn more about Cindy:

www.coachingfordivorcedwomen.com/divorcees-guide-to-happiness

Robin Gardner

There are many points to consider when preparing for divorce since preparation is key, but I believe the most important tip overall is to create a healthy inner state of mind along with good self-care.  Your mindset is the one thing you have the ability to control, which will determine the type of divorce that you have.  This calls for you to be emotionally prepared and less reactive, which benefits communication and decision-making.  The right state of mind requires you to stay focused on your goal and create a plan for your life that you will need to get in order, which includes access to important documents.

Having the proper mindset also means being informed by doing research so that you aren’t blindsided by unforeseen facts and circumstances.  To ensure a healthy emotional state, establish a support network that includes trusted friends and family, therapists, coaches, etc. Remember to honor and support yourself every step of the way with plenty of love, self-confidence, and self-care.  Keep your eye on your future dreams and visions, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed…just BREATHE.

To learn more about Robin:

www.thedivorcecoachrobin.com

Emily Metzendorf

My #1 tip for how to prepare for divorce is to remember you are not alone and don't be afraid to ask for help! Create a team of loyal, non judgmental, supportive friends and family and professionals- lawyer, mediator, coach, therapist, financial advisor, etc.- who make you feel safe, secure, heard and cared for. Then, after you have chosen them, use them to help guide you and support you through the process. Lastly, remember there is a happy chapter 2 awaiting you!

To learn more about Emily:

www.facebook.com/Emily-Metzendorf-Divorce-Coaching-1709348835944110

www.certifieddivorcecoach.com/emily-samuels

Hanna Perlberger

Having transitioned from being a divorce lawyer for over 25 years to mediation and divorce coaching, I am saddened by how many clients get hijacked by their attorneys who drive the process for their own agendas.  And so my number #1 tip is to hire a divorce coach who can discuss all of the alternative options for resolution, and should it be necessary to go the traditional route, to become empowered in how to hire the right attorney for you, to avoid the common emotional pitfalls of bad decision making, and to choices that are aligned with your best self and that give you peace of mind.

To learn more about Hanna:

www.livingthrudivorce.com

Valerie Cherneski

The best way to prepare for divorce is to start as you mean to go on. This means that you take the time to understand what your values are, and who you are at your core. It is this version of you that you come back to at every twist and turn — and there will be twists and turns — to keep you grounded.  This could be one of the most difficult tests of your life, and if you can answer the question, "Who do I want to be right now?" in every tough scenario, you will be able to hold your head high and move through the divorce process with integrity and dignity.  Your values will guide you when you do not feel you have the strength to guide yourself.

To learn more about Valerie:

www.cherneskicoaching.com

Lisa McNally

Divorce Journaling is an absolute “must do” for anyone facing a divorce who wants to emerge victoriously emotionally, psychologically and procedurally as it relates to the divorce itself.  Divorce Journaling is a method of recording what’s on your mind in a private place meant to be viewed by you only.  It can encompass your thoughts, emotions, ideas, wants, needs, fears and anything else that’s of importance to you. In addition to helping you prepare your mindset for what’s to come in your divorce, Divorce Journaling will help you to clarify and manage your thoughts and feelings, reduce your stress, build your confidence, heal from within and free up valuable real estate in your mind, enabling you to remain mentally uncluttered and focused.

To learn more about Lisa:

www.divorcejournalingwithlisa.com

Cynthia Bacheller

Don't communicate or make decisions when you are emotional. Instead, give yourself permission to take the time you need to calm down. To do this: 1) Pay attention to your emotions when communicating with your ex/co-parent; 2) Teach yourself to notice these feelings by reminding yourself to pay attention to these feelings and reflect on what is causing them; 3) Specify a timeframe to your ex/co-parent for when you will get back to him/her; 4) Intend, and do your very best to, stay within that timeframe; and 5) Seek the support you need to work through your feelings and make decisions that will ensure your family thrives.

To learn more about Cynthia:

www.certifieddivorcecoach.com/cynthia-bacheller

Marlene Bizub

My one piece of advice for divorcing parents is to not automatically think that they have to hire attorneys and litigate in order to become divorced.  Who one selects when they choose an attorney is important too.  There are collaborative attorneys.  Don't feel as though this has to be a contentious process—because it doesn’t!

To learn more about Marlene:

www.marlenebizub.com

 

Want more free divorce advice and tips?

Subscribe to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast, trusted by over 50,000 people across the United States.


What are Shawn's top tips for how to prepare for divorce?

1) Be Certain You Want a Divorce

Divorce is a last resort and not the only option in an unhappy marriage. Divorce is often expensive, messy, complicated, and painful. Have you exhausted all your options to save your marriage? Divorce does not necessarily solve many of the reasons you may be unhappy. Consider marriage counseling or living apart for a while as an interim solution. If the pain of staying in the marriage is worse than the fear of a single life, then maybe it is time to go. Just be sure you do not regret your decision to get a divorce.

Want to listen to this episode on your mobile device? Just use one of the following links:  iTunes | Google Play Music | RSS Feed or click on the episode player above.

2) Accept that Divorce is Happening

You are getting a divorce. The vows you made, the life you created, the marriage you had—it is all ending. Divorce is the death of a marriage. You never thought it would happen to you. You are probably experiencing a range of conflicting and confusing emotions, including denial, anger, guilt, sadness, fear, relief, and everything in between. All these feelings are normal under the circumstances, but it is time to step up and prepare for the divorce process.

Want to listen to this episode on your mobile device? Just use one of the following links:  iTunes | Google Play Music | RSS Feed or click on the episode player above.

3) Hope for the Best, but Prepare for the Worst

Divorce can be unpredictable. Initially, you may think you and your spouse will work things out civilly, but the next thing you know years have passed without any clear resolution, and you have a stack of legal bills. In other cases, you may think you are going to have a lot of conflict with your spouse, but it turns out that both of you want to resolve the process quickly and efficiently. Or maybe you are somewhere in between. Every divorce is unique with its own dynamics, and it is hard to foresee the outcome. While you should be optimistic about getting through the process favorably, prepare yourself for a fight. Even in the best of circumstances, divorce takes twice as long and is twice as expensive as you think it will be. Prepare yourself.

4) Plan for the Cost of Divorce

Divorce can be very expensive. You will need funds to pay for an effective team, which will do their best to assist you in managing the process and securing a financial future for yourself. Before you even consider filing for divorce, you may want to think about setting aside some cash on your own. This money can then be used to cover the cost of retaining an attorney, hiring a certified divorce financial analyst, and enlisting the help of a therapist to work through your own emotional issues surrounding the end of your marriage.

Want to listen to this episode on your mobile device? Just use one of the following links:  iTunes | Google Play Music | RSS Feed or click on the episode player above.

5) Setup New Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

You may not be able to get rid of your old joint accounts just yet, but you can certainly begin to set up new accounts for your soon-to-be single life. Make sure that you form these new bank accounts and that you transfer some funds into the account. Most notably, you will want to switch any direct deposits from your employer into your individual account.

You should also consider opening new credit card accounts that are only in your name. This tactic can help you build up your own credit for the time when you may need to purchase a new car, get a new mortgage on your own, or encounter any number of other scenarios that require a good credit score. Your credit score will need to reflect that you have the capability to responsibly borrow and repay your loans without the assistance of your spouse.

6) Gather Your Financial Records

Ideally, you will have five years’ worth of documents, including tax returns, payroll stubs, benefits information, bank statements, investment accounts and property information.  Make copies of everything and keep them outside of the house — either in a private safe deposit box or at the home of a trusted friend or family member. Having evidence of all of your financials will help speed up discussions during the divorce, and it will safeguard you in case something goes missing.

7) Inventory Your Assets

While you are gathering your financial records, begin an inventory of all of your assets. Separate property usually includes anything you owned before the marriage, any gifts given solely to you, or inheritances. Anything acquired during the marriage is usually considered marital property.

Take digital, date-stamped photos of your valuables such as jewelry, antiques and collectibles. This may seem extreme now, but it is not uncommon for things to disappear once the process starts.

8) Build a Team of Professionals to Help You

As CEO of your divorce, you need to have a team of specialized professionals to help you navigate the complex process. The three key players are an experienced family law attorney, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), and a therapist. A family law attorney—the most important person on your divorce team—will help you navigate the legal elements of the case and represent your interests. A divorce financial planner (CDFA) does the math, from helping you complete your all-important Statement of Net Worth/Financial Affidavit to determining the long-term impact of different settlement proposals. A therapist will help you work through your emotions to keep you focused on the big picture.

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9) Set Realistic Goals for Your Future

What do you want after the divorce is over? Do you want to stay in the house or maybe receive (or pay) a certain amount of spousal support? What about custody of children? You need to determine your most important goals for the divorce process and stay focused on the big picture. If you are mired in the little details and start fighting for that coffee mug you got on vacation years ago, you end up racking up expenses and only hurting yourself in the end.

10) Cut Unnecessary Expenses

It is no secret that divorces are costly. From the moment you sense that your marriage is heading in that direction, you need to redraw your budget and determine how you will accommodate not only the expenses associated with divorce, but also for your new, single life. In order to help build your savings, it is likely that you will have to adjust your lifestyle and cut out anything unnecessary.

11) Monitor Your Credit Report

In order to emerge from the divorce as fiscally unscathed as possible, you need to be fully aware of your current financial situation. To paint the clearest picture, obtain a copy of your credit report, paying close attention to any outstanding debts.

If there is anything that does not add up, you will want to ask your attorney for assistance before you ask your spouse for full disclosure of records. Additionally, it is wise to monitor your credit report throughout the divorce process to avoid any surprises later on.

12) Treat Divorce as a Business Transaction where You are the CEO

As cold as it sounds, the difference between marriage and divorce is a piece of paper. While marriage is about love, divorce is about money. As you go through the divorce process, treat it as a business transaction, as the decisions you make will affect you for the rest of your life. Put your emotions aside, and step up as CEO of your divorce. You must make rational decisions regarding dividing property, child custody, and spousal and child support.

13) Keep Healthy and Fit

The bedtime pint of ice cream starts looking very tasty when you are going through a stressful situation. Or maybe you are thinking about dusting off that bottle of vodka or having an extra cigarette. You are sleeping less. Days between visiting the gym become fewer and fewer, and soon you realize that you are gaining weight and feeling extra sluggish. Do not let that happen to you. Divorce is exhausting mentally and physically; one of the best things you can do to lift your mood and reduce stress is by staying healthy. Physical strength can serve as a good foundation for mental stamina. Go to the gym, take a walk, do some yoga, and clean up your diet. Your body—and your mind—will thank you for it.

14) Lean on Friends and Support Groups

Divorce can be a lonely time, but you should know that you do not have to go through the experience alone. Speak with close friends to help you manage the process, and share what you are feeling. Consider joining divorce support groups, such as DivorceCare and Second Saturday, and many churches and religious institutions can also help. Having others by your side makes it easier to get through the dark times and toughest days in one piece.

15) Take Care of the Children

Divorce can have a traumatic effect on children, with repercussions for the rest of their lives. What do you want them to say about your divorce ten or twenty years from now? Learn how to tell your children about divorce, and try to understand what they are seeing from their eyes. They may act out, have falling grades, or exhibit changes in behavior that you need to monitor closely. If you love your children, do everything you can to protect and reassure them during this volatile process.

16) Act Civil with Your Spouse

If possible, be civil with your spouse. Whether by text, email, or in person, try to avoid a high-emotional confrontation with every communication. You are getting divorced for a reason, of course, but it does not mean you should create extra conflict in every possible situation. Even if your spouse is mean, abusive, or unpleasant, when communicating, treat him or her with respect. Tense and unpleasant communication can not only hurt you if you go to court, but it can also lead to much larger legal bills and often add unnecessary complexity to your divorce.

17) Know You Will Make It

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Divorce can feel overwhelming, but you will get through it. Focus on one minute, one hour, or one day at a time. This time in your life will end, even though it may not seem it will at the moment. It is not going be easy, but divorce does not have ruin your life either. Just take one step and then another and another, and those steps will add up, and soon you will be done with the process. You will have the rest of your life ahead of you, and divorce will be in the rearview mirror. You can do it. You will do it. Have faith and believe in yourself.

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May 27, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Sometimes art imitating life is the catharsis and validation we need when going through something as painful as a relationship breaking up. It is a trying time, so to make things easier, here is a list of some of the best movies about divorce according to Rotten Tomatoes:

Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio All’italiana) (1962)

Tomatometer Score: Critics 100% / Audience 93%

divorce-italian-style

Think your divorce is bad? Wait until you get a load of this situation. Divorce Italian Style is an Italian comedy released in 1962 about a Sicilian nobleman (in name only); in other words, he does not have the wealth that comes with nobility. He pines for a younger distant cousin, and he secretly resents his wife, who he is not attracted to and definitely does not love.

Hijinks ensue when he comes up with a plan to set his wife up to have an affair. Then he can kill her and show it occurred during the heat of passion, so he will get a light sentence according Italian laws at the time. He hires somebody to help him restore parts of his estate, which is when he tries to hatch his plan.

Of course, his plan is foiled several times. In the end, he has to do what he was hoping the mafia would do for him. Once plan is put into place, which proceeds pretty much as he suspected. Everything begins to go his way. Or does it? This film will remind you that it could always be worse.

Boyhood (2014)

Tomatometer Score: Critics 98% / Audience 81%

boyhood

This Oscar darling took over a decade to make. Director Richard Linklater literally chronicled the same young actor from first grade through college.

The film follows little Mason as he struggles with his divorced parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette), both moving on in their lives. How does the divorce affect Mason and his sister? Their parents do not always date the right people, especially his mother. But the raw realism of this glimpse into moments of a divorced family moving forward throughout a decade is what got this film so much attention, and it is definitely a cathartic experience.

Husbands and Wives (1992)

Tomatometer Score:  Critics 97% / Audience 87%

husbands-and-wives-woody-allen

Leave it to Woody Allen to make a movie about breakups and divorce that is uncomfortable to watch yet poignant. We observe two couples (Jack and Sally, and Gabe and Judy) deal with problems and breakdowns in their respective marriages.

When Jack and Sally announce their plans to separate, it puts Gabe and Judy into shock, which makes them start to involuntarily reevaluate their own marriage. Jack and Sally both move on, much to the chagrin of the other couple: as Jack and Sally continue to feel out their separation, things only get worse for Gabe and Judy. They tumultuously get jealous and wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Then the couples’ situations switch: Jack and Sally decide to get back together and accept the imperfection of their marriage, but Gabe and Judy go through a divorce.

This movie is a realistic portrait of relationships and humanity.

Sideways (2004)

Tomatometer Score: Critics 96% / Audience 78%

sideways

Wine country and divorce: the two seem to go hand-in-hand. Sideways is a look into the loneliness of divorce, including how much it can disrupt your life. Our antihero Miles (Paul Giamatti) is a divorced writer making his living as a teacher, a job he desperately wants to leave. The film revolves around a weekend trip he has planned with his best friend to Santa Ynez Valley wine country.

When Miles finds out that his ex-wife is getting remarried, he is sent into a tailspin. Meanwhile, he is roped into covering for his best friend as he has one last fling before getting married. Meanwhile, Miles connects with a woman he meets, who he awkwardly ends up sleeping with.

The film is both funny and heartbreaking, but what really hits home is how alone Miles is in everything he does throughout the film. It depicts the uncertainty of life after divorce.

Scenes from a Marriage (Scener Ur Ett Äktenskap) (1974)

Tomatometer Score:  Critics 94% / Audience 95%

scenes-from-a-marriage

This classic six-episode miniseries was made by Ingmar Bergman, who has always expertly captured a feeling of isolation and claustrophobia. He continues that tradition here by depicting the fear of being alone and how it drives both marriage and divorce.

Marianne and Johan come off like a perfect couple during an interview, in which they discuss their decade-long marriage. After the interview, their life slowly starts to show that their marriage is starting to come apart at the seams.

When Johan admits to having an affair, the stage is set for divorce. However, they both try to move on as they explore whether love is real, and who they really are as individuals. Their fear of being alone leads them back to each other, where they realize how flawed they actually are.

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

Tomatometer Score:  Critics Score 93% / Audience 81%

the-squid-and-the-whale

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we are married with children. Then during divorce, it all comes crashing down, and sides are chosen. This film deserves its critical praise, as it depicts the confusing, heartbreaking effect that combative parents have on their children during a messy divorce.

As the parents continue to tear each other down in front of their children, the kids feel forced to take sides. One son takes the father’s side, and the other takes the mother’s.  To make things worse, both parents have gotten into reckless relationships, which make things even more confusing for their two sons.

Through the veil of his parent’s divorce, the old son’s journey becomes a heartbreaking coming-of-age story. He witnesses the sins of his father and realizes how much he does not want to be like him. As he reconciles the love of his mother with the narcissism of his father, he is forced to make a decision, and in the end, he chooses himself.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Tomatometer Score:  Critics 88% / Audience 89%

kramer-vs-kramer

If you are facing a long, drawn-out custody battle, you will identify with this film. But even if you are not, it is still a pretty damn good film about divorce and how hard it is to move on.

Ted (Dustin Hoffman) and Joanna (Meryl Streep) are married with a son, but Joanna is not happy with Ted, who is a workaholic. Nevertheless, Ted is shocked to find out that Joanna is leaving him…and their son. Ted has to learn how to be a single father and to cut back on work.

Joanna comes back over a year later and wants custody of their son. Ted has learned how to be a good father and bonded with their son in a way he never would if Joanna had not left them. However, his mistakes over the past year come back to haunt him.

What ensues is a heartbreaking tug of war that ends in a surprisingly tender way. Catharsis level: high.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Tomatometer Score:  Critics 88% / Audience 77%

blue-valentine

 

Sometimes when you are going through a divorce, a good cry can get a lot of the emotions out. This one just might help you do that. It is a story about a couple (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) who are kept together by an unplanned pregnancy. They decide to give life as a family a try, and it does not work out very well. The film shows the emotional ups and downs of the couple, as well as the heartbreaking impact it has on their child.

This film is unique in that it goes back and forth between timelines: when our couple meets and dates, and when the marriage falls apart. This storytelling device reflects the way our brains work during high-stress times. This movie gets such high scores because it feels so familiar and reminds you of your humanity.

Using whatever coping mechanisms you can to get through a process like divorce is highly recommended. Losing yourself in a good movie is one of the best ways to do that.

It is important to mentally take care of yourself, as well as physically going through a high-stress situation. If you get professional, objective help from a divorce coach, it can help you avoid mistakes that will cause even more stress, which can be a huge relief. Take some time for yourself, watch some films, and let yourself reflect before making any big decisions that could come back to haunt you.

 

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 
 
May 25, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Ex-Parte Divorce Meaning

Ex-parte divorce occurs when only one spouse lives in the jurisdiction where the divorce is filed. For example, perhaps one spouse is a resident of California, and the other is a resident of New York. If so, an ex-parte divorce occurs when either spouse files in their state. Even though the other spouse does not live in the same jurisdiction, if a spouse is a legal resident of that state, he or she can file for divorce there. Regardless of which state the divorce is completed in, it is valid across the United States.

How Long Does an Ex-Parte Divorce Take?

On average, an ex-parte divorce takes 6-12 months, which is about the same as a divorce that involves both spouses living in the same area. All divorce laws are local, and every divorce is different. Therefore, an ex-parte divorce may not be a longer or shorter process just because you and your spouse live in different states.

How Much Alimony Is Provided after an Ex-Parte Divorce?

The alimony determined during an ex-parte divorce depends on your local laws.

There Can Be a Benefit for Filing for Divorce First.

If you file for an ex-parte divorce, you get to choose the venue for your divorce proceedings. If your spouse lives far away, that can be a big logistical benefit during your case. If your spouse tries to change the venue of the divorce, it is an expensive, time-consuming effort.

Get a Local Lawyer.

If you are the spouse dealing with an ex-parte divorce that has been filed in a different jurisdiction, make sure the lawyer you hire is in the jurisdiction where the divorce was filed. Otherwise, you will be operating at a disadvantage with a lawyer who does not know the area’s rules and procedures. And if you go to court, your attorney will not know the judge.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

May 23, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Reddit Divorce: How Can an Online Community Help You during Your Divorce?

The internet is chockful of interesting ways to manage your upcoming divorce. Many avid internet users are reporting that the Reddit Divorce site is filled with the information and support they desperately seek. If you are not familiar with the information contained within these highly ranked pages, you may want to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with what you have been missing.

What is Reddit?

Reddit itself is an online community that is centered around sharing the most popular articles, videos, information, and stories on the web. Users are able to rate each item, and the results are then posted on the homepage of the Reddit site. The rankings are based on user voting and the number of shares each story has, as well as more detailed information found in the site’s algorithm.

There is one general area for all of the most popular items, often referred to as the “front page of the internet.” However, many users are also finding the “subreddits” (Reddit’s subcategories) to be filled with useful, highly specific information that helps them in their daily lives. These subreddits cater to specific themes or topics, including a page designed for people going through a divorce. These more specific and intimate categories may have different focuses, such as lending emotional support, giving professional opinions, and sharing personal anecdotes.

How Can Reddit Divorce Help Your Situation?

Many users may be wondering about the value of utilizing these online webpages to process the messy parts of divorce. When it comes to applying information, what is the real value in Reddit Divorce?

1. Online communities can lend anonymous emotional support.

It is no secret that divorce can make you feel like you have been emotionally put through the ringer. If you do not have friends and family who can lend an empathic ear to your situation, spaces like Reddit Divorce can give you the emotional support you need. Utilizing these anonymous message boards and communities to rant about the details of your divorce can serve as a catharsis for the emotional strife in your daily life.

One of the best parts of finding your emotional support through these anonymous communities is the cost: a free message board is significantly less expensive than counseling. On the other hand, it does not give you any professional advice. Reddit divorce is best suited as a safe place or sounding board for you to allow your pent-up frustrations or sadness to flow freely.

It also allows you to hear third-party opinions, which is different than asking for advice from a trusted friend or family member that already knows you and your spouse People who know you in real life may be more tempted to choose sides during the ensuing divorce.

2. Hearing the experience of others can help you make smarter decisions.

Reddit Divorce is full of personal experiences that pertain to divorce. Threads are available for topics ranging from custody arrangements to methods of divorce. Hearing these personal experiences can assist you in making your own decisions. You may find out key details that influence your decision by reading about the experiences or mishaps of others.

For example, you may find out that some methods of divorce tend to be more expensive, or you may discover creative ways to handle your property or custody agreements. Alternatively, it may just give you space to process different feelings and scenarios, as opposed to making decisions based on your emotions. There are plenty of subreddits that directly pertain to specific issues, including custody battles, legal advice, stepparents, and blended families.

Keep in mind that Reddit Divorce is designed to give you the opinions of others. It is not actual legal advice, even if it comes from an attorney. Reddit is a community, not a substitute for hiring your own attorney or seeking legal counsel.

3. Set realistic expectations, based on the experiences of others.

Without having gone through a divorce, it can be difficult to know what to expect next, or even just set realistic expectations about the outcome. Each situation is unique, based your finances, your children, and all of the other factors that have to be factored into a settlement. By hearing personal stories from others (including what they wish they had known ahead of time), you can gain some traction and feel more control over the situation.

Setting realistic expectations is critical for your emotional wellbeing and stability, particularly when it comes to your assets and custody arrangements. This practice allows your expectations to be influenced by reality, and it can help you better prepare for an independent financial future.

Using Reddit Divorce for Support

Reddit Divorce is not designed to replace any actual legal counsel or the professional help of an experienced team of experts. However, this anonymous space on the internet gives you a convenient sounding board for the emotions, ideas, and expectations you have surrounding the impending end of your marriage. When used appropriately, this website can help you better prepare for the rest of the process, and it can show you how to have a healthy future, both emotionally and financially.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

May 17, 2017
This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.
 
Is there any position more disadvantageous in divorce than that of a stay-at-home mom? Away from the workforce for a period, many women lack access to their own income to support a newly single status with kids in tow. The disadvantage is quickly apparent as the divorce process begins, so it is of critical importance to get organized as quickly as possible. The faster you can get your affairs in order, the more secure your financial future could look.

With an overwhelming volume of tasks that need to be completed, where should you start as a stay-at-home mom? You will want to consider these six steps before you do anything else regarding your pending divorce.

1. Get your documents together.

Documentation will play a large part in working through a favorable divorce settlement with your spouse. Attorneys, mediators, and certified divorce financial analysts may request any number of different documents to get a clear picture of your current marital finances. You want to make sure that you have copies of important documents that demonstrate your financial status, including:

  • W2s and tax returns from previous years
  • Income statements, including paystubs
  • Bank statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Loan or mortgage details
  • Investment accounts

If you plan to be the one to file for divorce, ensure that you have copies of these items prior to filing. Divorcing a controlling spouse could be a separate issue that will make obtaining these documents more difficult. To gain access to the information you need, you will need to come up with a ruse, such as preparing for a future health emergency.

2. Gain access to funds.

It is no secret that divorce can be a costly experience. Hiring an attorney, a certified divorce financial analyst, a mediator, or any other type of counsel comes with a price tag. It is not uncommon for a stay-at-home mom to lack access to the marital funds, so a critical first step is finding a way around this problem.

When you lack regular access to your marital accounts, you may need to secretly stash cash  away from the eyes of your spouse. Sneaky methods include requesting cash back at the grocery store or storing it up on hidden gift cards; they may give you the financial advantage you need. You may also want to take advantage of learning about your marital finances while you can. Find a way to gain the most realistic picture of your current finances, whether you need to look at bank statements, tax returns, or anything you find lying around.

3. Craft a new budget.

Chances are you have some idea about what your expenses are as a married couple. Mortgages or rent, utilities, phone bills, and all of the other necessities for daily life now need to be multiplied to reflect two separate households. The ultimate goal in this stage is to craft a realistic number and expectation for your monthly expenses. How much will you need to earn to make ends meet as a newly single mom?

Remember, in all likelihood, child support will not cover all expenses or bills for the month, though it may offer some assistance.

4. Plan to return to work.

This option seems like an unavoidable topic for stay-at-home moms who are awaiting the finalization of their divorce. Returning to work gives you access to your own funds, and it grants you the financial freedom to cover the expenses of caring for your children in your own household. Consider what your employable skills are, even if you have taken an extended leave of absence from the workforce. Update your resume with new skills learned, and start the arduous search for careers that could pay well and lend flexibility to your status as a single mom.

What could you do to be more employable? You may want to investigate positions that allow you to work from home. If you have a degree from many years ago, you may want to consider taking additional classes to update your skillset.

If you have already crafted a detailed budget, then you know what your expected expenses are at the end of each month. Allow this final figure to guide your decision to select the right career for the upcoming phase of your life. Do not forget that the benefits offered by potential employers can also play a role in your overall income. For example, these benefits could help replace health insurance lost from a spouse’s employer, or start a personal retirement fund.

5. Consider requesting temporary alimony.

Long-term marriages that allow one to be a stay-at-home mom for an extended period of time may offer alimony on a temporary basis. This temporary alimony or short-term support can give you some financial breathing room while you search for gainful employment. It may also help cover a greater portion of expenses while you return to school and search for a long-term career and a new residence.

Alimony is typically only granted on a long-term basis for spouses who were stay-at-home moms for a very lengthy period of time. After such a time period, a judge may declare that the stay-at-home mom is past the point of being able to learn new skills or find gainful employment outside of the home.

6. Get yourself organized before you begin.

Entering into the workforce and creating a new household when you have been a stay-at-home mom for years can be chaotic and stressful. If you are the one preparing to file for divorce, you need to ensure that you organize yourself as quickly as possible. Have you had time to prepare, or have you been blindsided by the news of divorce? Either way, organization is a key component to establishing financial security moving forward.

Do not allow yourself to be swept up in the emotional aspect of your divorce. You will need to begin preparing and organizing for the upcoming ordeal as you separate one household into two. Sooner rather than later, start considering what you would need to do to care for your family as a single mom.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire

May 9, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Being served divorce papers signifies the beginning of the end. Unfortunately, it does not always mean that appearing in court will necessarily happen quickly. Finalization could be months or years away, even after you have divorce papers in hand. In the meantime, what should you do to make the most of this time?

Preparing for the inevitable end of your marriage can give you a feeling of control. But it can also assist you in receiving all that you are entitled to as a participant in your marriage. Taking charge of the situation during this initial phase can give you a successful start toward a favorable resolution to your divorce process.

Once you are served with divorce papers, what do you need to do first? Here are a few tips for getting started on the right path:

1) Get organized.

When it comes to finalizing your divorce, you cannot underestimate the importance of organization. Begin by using this time to gather pertinent documents, including tax returns, bank statements, and information about retirement savings accounts. The more work you can do at this stage without the pressure of a time crunch, the more thorough you can be at assembling and gathering everything you need.

This stage could also be a good time to begin thinking through which assets or properties hold significant value to you. Is there a piece of furniture you want to claim in the settlement? Make a list of these items now—without the heat of spousal squabbles. Then you can more easily clarify which items are most important to you.

2) Assemble your team of professionals.

Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you may need to hire quite a few professionals to assist you. Team members may include an attorney, a certified divorce financial analyst, a forensic accountant, or a private investigator. Be sure to do research to determine which professionals have extensive experience in their field and great customer reviews.

You can also use this time to consider how much of the work you will be doing on your own. Some prefer to file their own paperwork, or you can just work out a settlement negotiation with your spouse. Others find their divorce to be more complicated. Therefore, they may need the assistance of an attorney to go to trial.

Knowing how much you want to complete on your own and how much you plan to spend can assist you with hiring the right professionals for the job.

Remember that the people you hire to handle your divorce are there for a purpose. It will be a business relationship, and should be managed as such. Select professionals that you can work with well, as you could be spending a large amount of time and money with your team.

The professionals you hire are the people responsible for assisting you in receiving the best possible settlement. These decisions are crucial for the future of your financial security, and they cannot be overlooked.

3) If possible, try to open the lines of communication with your spouse.

If possible, healthy communication can certainly speed up the process of agreeing on a settlement or a custody arrangement for your children. When a healthy level of open communication is possible, the process can be easier, less emotionally taxing, and significantly faster.

The more you and your spouse can sort out between you, the less involvement you will need from attorneys and other team members. If you open the lines of communication, both of you will typically have an easier negotiation and lower attorney fees.

However, under certain circumstances like abuse, bullying, or manipulation, you should not even consider communication. In these kinds of situations, allow the team you have assembled to handle most, if not all of the communication between the two of you.

4) Take care of your own emotional health.

Even though divorce is an extremely emotionally turbulent time in anyone’s life, the professionals you hire are not there to hear about your feelings. Instead, you hire them to handle the facts, and create a favorable divorce settlement; that is truly all you should be sharing with them.

Therefore, you will need to find another outlet for the emotional response triggered by the impending end of your marriage. For some, this outlet can be as simple as talking with friends over drinks, or taking a yoga class to practice mindfulness.

If you have a smaller support system, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a professional therapist. It may be worthwhile to consider seeking professional help to find coping skills if you feel overstressed.

Over time, the burden of extreme emotional distress can take a toll on your physical health and psyche. Sorting through your feelings can improve your well-being, and it can allow you to participate in your divorce process with a calmer demeanor and more level head. This mindset allows you to be firm during all the negotiations that are involved after being served divorce papers.

Early in the process, take control.

Being served divorce papers truly is the first step toward finalizing the end of your marriage. And it is the start of something new. You will quickly discover that there are a lot of items on your to-do list that require your attention. By taking control of the situation now, you can enter the rest of the process with increased levelheadedness and a sense of calm.

Take the first steps towards securing a financially healthy future in your soon-to-be single life. Once you are served divorce papers, it is time to take control of your life. Following these steps will help you before the divorce process even begins.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

May 4, 2017

This article was republished by Investopedia here

Divorce becomes more complicated when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own a business together. Businesses require constant care and attention, and they can’t be easily split in half the way funds in a bank or an investment account can.

Your attorney will likely recommend you don’t keep running the business together after the divorce. This rarely works out, especially if you must be in close contact with each other on a daily basis.

Assuming you follow this recommendation, you can handle the business in a few different ways.

Three Options for Divorcing Business Owners

You and your former partner will need to decide who will assume ownership of the business when the divorce process is over. There are three options:

  1. One of you buys the other out of the business and assumes total ownership.
  2. You both sell the business to a third party. 
  3. You both agree to close the business.

Start With an Accurate Business Appraisal

No matter which option you pick, finding out how much the business is worth is the starting point for negotiation. To do this, you’ll need an appraisal from someone certified in business valuation. You also need to know how much of the value you own and how much of the business is considered marital property.

Consider Buying out Your Ex-Spouse

If you or your spouse wants to keep running the business, you’ll need to decide upon a buyout. In other words, one spouse pays off the other and assumes his or her ownership stake in the business.

Depending on the value of the business, you might not be able to give your ex a lump sum of cash. Instead, you could:

  1. Reach a long-term payout agreement in the form of a property settlement note.
  2. Exchange the business value for other marital assets.

Know That Selling a Business Takes Time

Depending upon your circumstances, selling your business might be the best option. It gives you and your ex a clean break so you can both move on to other things. Selling your business has costs, and many elements of the process are complicated. You’ll likely need a business broker, and it can still take many months, or longer, for a transaction to close. If you’re not prepared for this timeline, it could delay your divorce.

Close a Failing Business

This option is often the last resort, but if the business is failing and has a high burden of debt, divorce is a prime opportunity to close and move on. It’s never easy to close a business that you’ve worked hard to build, but sometimes it’s the best choice.

Final Thoughts

Going through a divorce with a jointly-owned business can add an extra layer of stress and complication to an already challenging process. Plan, know your options, and make the best decision for you.

Find this information helpful? Share it!

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide and host of the Divorce and Your Money Show on iTunes. Learn more at  www.divorceandyourmoney.com

May 4, 2017

This was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here

Divorce Mediation Tips

Some couples find that mediation is a useful way to get divorced. Mediation involves hiring a neutral third party (such as a retired judge) who will negotiate the divorce or help you resolve specific issues of contention. Both you and your spouse must agree to use a mediator, but any agreements made are strictly nonbinding.

The biggest advantage of mediation is that it can be a quick, less formal method of getting divorced because court dates and litigation are not involved. It can also help minimize certain issues and acrimony on both sides.

The nonbinding element of mediation is a double-edged sword, as it can sometimes be a waste of time and money. Another disadvantage is that it is not appropriate in all cases. For instance, if you and your spouse have serious issues, mediation may not be the right path for you.

However, you should be aware that mediation will likely save you money. It is an efficient way to navigate the divorce process, and it does not involve a lot of court paperwork. It is not as public as other options, and it does not bind you.

Divorce Mediation Checklist

1) List the Property to be Divided

To start, you need to understand which assets need to be divided. If you do not have a clean understanding of everything you own, you will end up getting less than you deserve during the divorce process. Consider the following:

  • Bank, Investment, and Retirement Account Balances
  • Marital Home
    • Purchase Date
    • Mortgage and Loan Information
    • Appraisal and Valuation Information
  • Other Home(s) Information
  • Vehicle Data
    • Purchase Date
    • Estimated Value (Kelly Blue Book or similar)
    • Insurance Information
  • Personal Property of Value (including jewelry, artwork, collection, and antiques)
  • Insurance Policy Information
  • Any Other Assets or Debts That May Need Division (such as student loans)

2) What to Ask For during Divorce Mediation

Once you know what property you have, the next question is: what are your goals? What do you want to achieve when mediation is over? Do you want to keep the house, or sell it and split the proceeds? Who will have primary custody of the children? You should make a thorough list of what you want. BE REALISTIC. Then rank your priorities in order.

  • Define Your Goals
    • What is essential?
    • What things can you live without?
    • What is on your wish list?
  • Consider the Goals of Your Soon-to-be Ex
    • What do you think they care about most?
    • Do you have areas you will probably agree upon?
    • What areas will likely cause conflict?
  • Prioritize
    • What is most important to you?
    • What is an acceptable outcome?
    • What do you not care about very much?

3) Learn Your Local Laws

To understand if your goals are realistic, you must comprehend what you may be entitled to.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the state and county laws that govern your divorce? 
  • Are you in a community property or equitable distribution state? 
  • Should you expect to pay or receive a specific amount of child or spousal support
  • How does the state resolve custody?

Preparation Is Key to Success during Mediation

Mediation has the potential to resolve all the major issues in your divorce, but it can also be fruitless. While there is no guarantee of success, one way to guarantee a difficult mediation process is failing to prepare. You should also check out the Divorce Checklist to help you through the mediation process. 

Find this information helpful? Share it!

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide and host of the Divorce and Your Money Show on iTunes. Learn more at  www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

May 4, 2017

 

 
This article was originally published on DivorcedMoms. You can view the original article here

Understand that marital finances are a critical aspect of securing a stable financial future following the end of your marriage. As the years progress in your marriage, many couples find that one spouse has taken complete control over the finances.

If you happen to be the spouse that is left in the dark, how can you get the financial information out of your spouse’s head and onto paper before you file for divorce? 

If you suddenly start asking questions about the status of your financial affairs, it can raise suspicion about your intentions. And once your spouse has their guard up, it can be next to impossible to gather and interpret accurate information regarding your current accounts or your financial future. Therefore, it could be a good idea to obtain financial information under the guise of something other than divorce, which can help you uncover the information that your spouse has been hiding.

The checklist below offers a few sneaky ways that you can obtain the valuable financial information you need from your spouse before filing for divorce:

1. Plan for a Health Emergency

This strategy is one of the simplest ways to begin discussing marital finances with your spouse. If you “plan” for the possibility of a “future health emergency,” you could gain access to key documents, professionals, and information that you will need to get an accurate read on your finances. When you present this option to your spouse, be sure to obtain copies of all the documents that are critical to your marriage, including:

  • Marriage papers
  • Financial records (including tax statements, bank statements, and investment account statements)
  • Car registrations
  • Income statements
  • Mortgage loan documents 

In addition to the paper trail created by the documentation listed above, find out if there are any key professionals involved in your finances. Investment brokers, attorneys, and financial planners may all be significant sources of information regarding your current situation. You may also want to wait to contact those individuals, but having their information available is a worthwhile consideration.

There are plenty of legitimate checklists available for this kind of situation. By introducing formal lists from reputable sources like the ones listed below, your spouse is more likely to believe that you are actually planning for a health emergency. They can help you find all of the critical financial documentation you need while lending an extra layer of validity to your “planning”:

2. Take an interest in retirement.

If you have never had much of a say in your investment accounts, an effective tactic could be feigning an interest in retirement accounts. Begin by opening up the lines of communication about how the two of you plan to spend your golden years together. To begin planning your idyllic future together, your spouse will have to get you up-to-speed with your current financial standing (in terms of retirement savings accounts, investments, and checking accounts). 

To “manage retirement funds,” be sure to ask questions about any current retirement savings accounts or investment brokers that your spouse is working with. You can also use some of the above checklists to gather together key documents (such as bank statements and records for accounts where funds have been deposited for the future). You may even be able to request copies of W2s and income statements to determine additional contributions (which could be made toward retirement on a monthly basis).

How does this ruse keep suspicions away from your impending divorce? Planning for the future can help take the wariness out of the situation at hand, which allows you to gather all the information you need to confidently move forward.

3. Hire a financial planner.

Your spouse may be less likely to hand information over to you alone, but visiting a financial planner under the guise of receiving assistance can turn the tables. If you have never had a financial planner before, this scenario is an excellent time to notate your current financial situation. Even couples who have used the same financial planner for years may want to consider taking the pulse on their investments. Many experts recommend receiving a second opinion about them, which marks another excellent opportunity to jot down details.

Encourage your spouse to help you round up all of the pertinent documents that a financial planner may request. They may include the income statements, tax statements, bank records, and current investment account statements that you needed to gather for the previous ruses. 

The best part of visiting a financial planner is the ability to sit back while a professional asks all of the necessary questions and obtains an overall sense of your financial well-being. Similar to the way a doctor will ask questions that may not seem obvious in order to assess to the cause of your distress, a good financial planner knows the proper questions to ask to gain perspective about your finances as a married couple. You can simply sit back and absorb all of the information while your planner works through the details.

Finding the Right Ruse

Understanding your finances is a necessary part of receiving a fair divorce settlement during negotiations. You may be asked to reveal any hidden assets your spouse has, as well as produce actual income statements to prove the financial status of your marriage. Finding a ruse that can trick your spouse into sharing sensitive financial information may be the most effective way to prepare yourself for divorce without arousing suspicion.

Each marriage is unique, and you will need to find the right tactic to get your spouse to give you sensitive financial information. Even if the two of you completed these items years ago, you can always ask to revisit them in the present—to make sure your documents and information are current.

These guises are meant to keep the focus on your marriage and future together while allowing you some flexibility in preparing to file for divorce. Find what works best for your relationship, so you can begin to secure a firm financial future yourself.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

May 3, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Divorce Mediation Tips

Some couples find that mediation is a useful way to get divorced. Mediation involves hiring a neutral third party (such as a retired judge) who will negotiate the divorce or help you resolve specific issues of contention. Both you and your spouse must agree to use a mediator, but any agreements made are strictly nonbinding.

The biggest advantage of mediation is that it can be a quick, less formal method of getting divorced because court dates and litigation are not involved. It can also help minimize certain issues and acrimony on both sides.

The nonbinding element of mediation is a double-edged sword, as it can sometimes be a waste of time and money. Another disadvantage is that it is not appropriate in all cases. For instance, if you and your spouse have serious issues, mediation may not be the right path for you.

However, you should be aware that mediation will likely save you money. It is an efficient way to navigate the divorce process, and it does not involve a lot of court paperwork. It is not as public as other options, and it does not bind you.

Divorce Mediation Checklist

1) List the Property to be Divided

To start, you need to understand which assets need to be divided. If you do not have a clean understanding of everything you own, you will end up getting less than you deserve during the divorce process. Consider the following:

  • Bank, Investment, and Retirement Account Balances
  • Marital Home
    • Purchase Date
    • Mortgage and Loan Information
    • Appraisal and Valuation Information
  • Other Home(s) Information
  • Vehicle Data
    • Purchase Date
    • Estimated Value (Kelly Blue Book or similar)
    • Insurance Information
  • Personal Property of Value (including jewelry, artwork, collection, and antiques)
  • Insurance Policy Information
  • Any Other Assets or Debts That May Need Division (such as student loans)

2) What to Ask For during Divorce Mediation

Once you know what property you have, the next question is: what are your goals? What do you want to achieve when mediation is over? Do you want to keep the house, or sell it and split the proceeds? Who will have primary custody of the children? You should make a thorough list of what you want. BE REALISTIC. Then rank your priorities in order.

  • Define Your Goals
    • What is essential?
    • What things can you live without?
    • What is on your wish list?
  • Consider the Goals of Your Soon-to-be Ex
    • What do you think they care about most?
    • Do you have areas you will probably agree upon?
    • What areas will likely cause conflict?
  • Prioritize
    • What is most important to you?
    • What is an acceptable outcome?
    • What do you not care about very much?

3) Learn Your Local Laws

To understand if your goals are realistic, you must comprehend what you may be entitled to.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the state and county laws that govern your divorce? 
  • Are you in a community property or equitable distribution state? 
  • Should you expect to pay or receive a specific amount of child or spousal support
  • How does the state resolve custody?

Preparation Is Key to Success during Mediation

Mediation has the potential to resolve all the major issues in your divorce, but it can also be fruitless. While there is no guarantee of success, one way to guarantee a difficult mediation process is failing to prepare. You should also check out the Divorce Checklist to help you through the mediation process. 

Find this information helpful? Share it!

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide and host of the Divorce and Your Money Show on iTunes. Learn more at  www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

May 2, 2017

Cost is frequently one of the most pressing concerns for individuals who are in the midst of pursuing a divorce. In many cases, the perceived cost can prevent some couples from ending an unhappy marriage. The specific method that you use to pursue the finalization of the end of your marriage can drastically affect the overall cost. In particular, mediation can significantly lower the cost, compared to other methods — including litigation.

What many couples really want to know is how much mediation will actually cost them. Unfortunately, there are several aspects that need to be addressed to determine the real cost of mediation. Finances certainly have to be considered, but your relationship and emotional tolerance also need to be addressed.

So what does mediation really cost? A few of the expenses are listed below.

Financial Obligations

Spouses who are willing to participate in mediation will typically find a lower overall cost for several reasons. First and foremost, mediation is frequently less time-consuming and costs less than attorney’s fees. Especially compared to litigation, the professional costs of hiring a legal advisor to assist you with mediation are substantially lower.

In some situations, there is even the possibility of working through mediation without an attorney. Tricky situations and legal scenarios may require the assistance of an attorney, and you may still want to consider enlisting one to help you get all that you are entitled to.

However, some couples find that they are able to undergo mediation, and it solves any potential marital disputes about assets and finances without legal representation.

What does mediation cost?

Mediators will typically charge an hourly fee in the same way that attorneys do. In a similar fashion, that fee will vary from individual to individual, and differences in education, experience, and skill level play into the cost.

However, opting for the cheapest available professional may not put you in the best position for a secure financial future. You should seriously consider the qualifications of the expert that you and your spouse choose, as this person will come up with your proposed settlement.

In addition, you may want to consider finding a mediator who can put together your final documents for you. Professional mediators who are unable to provide this service may charge less, but you will still need to hire a drafting attorney to prepare your documentation.

As a result of these factors, determining a specific price range for a mediator is difficult. Many of them charge anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per hour. Overall, the cost of hiring a mediator could be just a few thousand dollars, in comparison to the tens of thousands that are often associated with litigation.

Emotional Obligations

While many couples are eager to consider the financial implications of mediation, they tend to ignore the emotional and relational benefits of this method. Because mediation between cooperating spouses can be resolved in a timelier manner, it takes less of an emotional toll on the two of you. Certainly, it is less emotionally stressful than litigation, which requires you to wait for a judge to determine the final outcome.

Mediation can be completed so quickly that some couples are able to do it in just a single day or session. Others may require multiple sessions over the course of several weeks or months. During this time (however long it may be), both spouses are given the ability to hear the other’s point of view about the critical items in the settlement. When the lines of communication are open, it is significantly easier to come up with a solution that is beneficial to both spouses, as well as any children involved in the dispute.

Particularly when children are involved, mediation takes less of a toll on the relationships among family members. Mediation sets the stage for teaching both spouses to begin working on their communication skills in their new post-divorce relationship; that is a critical skill when there are children involved. Therefore, an ongoing relationship will be necessary. Aside from keeping these lines of communication open, mediation allows you to work through difficult issues regarding custody, visitation, and providing a safe space for the children.

Determining the REAL Cost

The ability to use this method of divorce is contingent upon your ability to keep communication open. Situations that involve bullying, abuse, or intimidation will not be able to effectively use mediation to come up with an agreement that ensures a secure financial future for both parties.

No matter what the reason, the breakdown of a marriage always has a hidden cost that can surpass the financial obligations. Though both aspects need to be considered, mediation has the potential to be a more cost-effective solution for many couples.

Perhaps the cost of divorce is keeping the two of you in an unhappy union. If so,  consider the lowered fee associated with mediation, but only pursue it if it is possible to speak openly and discuss potential issues.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

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