Info

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.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
2019
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 27, 2017
This was originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.

Your wedding ring is a big investment. Selling the ring is one of the most popular ways for dealing with it after divorce. Selling it can be very emotionally satisfying. A lot of people also sell it because wedding rings carry a lot of value, and they need the money for lawyers and other costly issues that come with a divorce.

Immediately after a divorce, many people want to sell it right away. Most people understand that they will not get the full value they paid for their ring, but a lot of people settle for less than what they can actually acquire. However, many people get in so much of a hurry that it does not serve them. In order to get the highest, most satisfying payout, you need the right strategy.

However, if you do not want to sell the ring and do not need the money or the satisfaction of getting rid of it, there are other viable options that can be very cathartic.

 

Below are tips for getting the best payout for your wedding ring.

Try Waiting

Most people do not realize that waiting to sell the ring will end up paying much more. The more patience you have with the ring, the more you will end up getting for it.

If you sell your wedding ring out of anger or desperation, you will probably move forward with the first jeweler or gemologist you encounter. Therefore, you could miss out on good negotiation tactics. When you have patience, you can get several offers and create the competitive pricing. Jeweler and gemologists will always have more interest—and therefore higher bids—if they know others are interested in the piece.

 

Try Not to Use It as a Retainer for Your Lawyer

Many people who are desperate to pay their divorce attorney will use their ring as a retainer. Down the line, you could receive much more benefit if you can get a loan instead. Lawyers will pay pennies on the dollar, much less than any jeweler or gemologist would offer, especially if you shop around.


Getting Estimates

To get the best estimate and therefore the highest bid, gather as much documentation about the ring as possible. The more documentation you have, the more ways you have to appraise it. Any piece can be taken to a fine jewelry appraiser, but they will be much more impressed with a thorough, documented history of the ring, as will gemologists and diamond specialists.

After you have gotten several appraisals and a thorough amount of paperwork for your ring, auction houses like Sotheby’s are one of the best ways to get the most amount of money for your ring. They will document everything, including the appraisals, and gather interest before the actual auction. That way, you have a better chance of creating a bidding war.

The more people who bid on it, the higher your payout. To keep yourself safe, you must choose to have a reserve. Then you will know that you will end up with your desired amount. You will be glad you waited.

 

Upgrade or Redesign It

You are used to wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry, and this ring has meaning to you.

One choice that many people do not consider is trading the in for a new piece of jewelry, but it can be very healing. Many jewelers will give you store credit for your ring. Often, store credit will be higher than any cash offer you receive, and you will end up with a piece of jewelry that is just as beautiful and valuable as the original. It will also be a symbol that you are moving on.

If you do not want to trade it in, here is another option: change the style of the ring, or turn it into a completely different piece of jewelry altogether, such as a pendant for a necklace. This choice is a great way to mark your new life, and it is a beautiful way for your wedding ring to change with you.

 

Keep It

Perhaps you have a sentimental attachment to your ring. Sometimes marriages end amicably, or one person does not want to let go of everything the ring symbolized.

You can still wear it if you want to, though that might not be the healthiest thing to do. However, if you need more time, wearing it is certainly an option. You can also pass it down to children or grandchildren.

If your children are still small, you can keep it in a jewelry box and hold onto it for them, or keep it for yourself as a way to remember the past. That way, you can get a new jewelry box or another kind of container. If you want to add some humor and flare, you can also order little coffins that were specifically made for wedding rings.

Sometimes, you want to keep it, but you do not want it to be where you are tempted to keep looking at it. If that is the case, try putting it in a safe-deposit box. Then you can take your time considering your next course of action. If you know that it is safe and available to pass down or sell, you will have peace of mind as you go through the challenges of life after divorce.

 

Summary

Whatever you choose to do with the ring, think about all of your options. If you do choose to sell it, there are many wrong turns you can take, which can lead you to get significantly less of a payout. Consider hiring a divorce coach, who has experience in selling rings. They know the industry and have valuable contacts.

 

A wedding ring might seem like a small aspect of a divorce. However, its symbolism is huge, so it is a decision you should not make immediately or take lightly.

 

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.

Jul 27, 2017
This is the final episode in a 7-part series on your post-divorce finances. Some documents and accounts need to be updated by the time your divorce is finalized (or as soon as possible after it is finalized). This practice can potentially prevent many future problems.
 
One set of documents involves estate planning. They contain details about what should be done in the event of your death or incapacitation. The first thing to consider is the last will or trust, which lists the beneficiaries who will receive your assets or property when you pass away. If your ex-spouse is included, this information may need to be changed.
 
Another set of documents is called a medical power of attorney or medical proxy. This document lists the person who will be in charge of making medical decisions if you cannot.  A similar document is the financial power of attorney, which also needs to be updated if you do not want your ex-spouse making financial decisions in the event of your incapacitation. These documents are fairly easy to set up, but if you do not have them, a judge will be forced to make these decisions for you.
 
The next item is a checkbox about most of the financial accounts you may have, which is called the beneficiary designation. Here, you will list the person who will get your account or assets should you pass away. Whether you are preparing for divorce or have finalized it, you should update this information.
 
Other miscellaneous accounts also need to be updated post-divorce. You can check the accounts you have in common with your spouse by checking your credit report. They include bank accounts, credit cards, vehicle registration and titles, insurance policies, and retirement and investment accounts. Depending on the settlement, you should either remove your name or your ex-spouse’s name from these documents and accounts.  You also need to update documents with emergency contact information.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 25, 2017

Blog originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.

Navigating a complicated divorce on your own is nearly impossible, but regularly seeking the advice of a trusted attorney can become quite expensive. For those who need an objective opinion and guidance, is there another expert that you can refer to for more trivial matters?

Many couples are discovering that a divorce coach is a very cost-effective, useful person to add to their team of professionals when attempting to tie up all of the loose ends associated with their marriage. While not a substitute for legal counsel, a divorce coach can provide professional advice, opinions, and guidance.

So what exactly is a divorce coach? Before you hire one, you will want to see the answers to these three questions:

 

What Is a Divorce Coach?

Typically, a divorce coach is not an attorney, although some professionals will advertise themselves as both. Coaching services are designed to offer individuals personal support and guidance for managing the divorce process, separate from the legal aspect.

For those who believe they may need a therapeutic setting, it should be noted that a divorce coach is not the same as maintaining a relationship with a licensed therapist. However, it can assist you in processing some of the emotions associated with dissolving your marriage.

For example, a divorce coach can help you make the best decisions for your future, based on the facts presented to both of you. Unlike soliciting advice from close friends and family (who are often biased and opinionated), a divorce coach can serve as a trusted third party. By being several steps removed from the emotional and relational aspect of the split, they are more likely to remain neutral and objective.

Furthermore, a divorce coach can educate you about obtaining a divorce at a significantly lower rate than an attorney. Depending on the unique training, skill set, and experience that divorce coaches possess, they may even be able to assist you in organizing your paperwork to file for divorce. Many trained coaches specialize in helping you set goals for yourself and your divorce, and they may even be able to help you gain a better grip on your new financial situation.

 

Why Hire a Divorce Coach?

Assembling the proper team of professionals is critical to success in divorce, which ultimately makes it the key to also establishing a firm financial future for yourself. Unfortunately, hiring the most qualified professionals can come at a relatively high cost. Consider the fact that an attorney will charge per phone call, per minute, and per meeting. By the end of your divorce, those extra questions and phone calls can really add up to an exorbitant bill.

A divorce coach offers a unique service by providing objective advice for your future—without the high price tag of an attorney.

They typically charge less per minute or per meeting, and hiring a divorce coach can help lower your attorney’s fees. Because they can help you make decisions and work out responses to emotional scenarios in advance, they can reduce the amount of time spent with your attorney. Your divorce coach can also usually answer basic questions regarding the divorce process, which prevents you from making unnecessary, costly phone calls to your divorce attorney.

Particularly when negotiating a settlement with your spouse, divorce coaches can offer unbiased opinions, which are separate from the legal process (instead of basing recommendations on the ease of negotiations). They can give you space to consider the emotional aspects and ramifications of decisions, even though they are not therapists.

 

What Benefits Come with a Divorce Coach?

Beyond the cost savings associated with hiring a divorce coach, there are many other positive reasons to consider finding a professional coach in your area. For many individuals, working with a divorce coach puts them in a position of power.

This decision grants you the feeling of control over the situation at hand, even though a professional is still guiding you through each step of the process. Setting goals and working through your emotions in the midst of your divorce can help you gain a better grip on the psychological toll that divorce can often take.

A good, well-qualified divorce coach can also give you some insight into planning for the future. Many coaches are qualified to help you look at your financial information and begin planning for a new income and lifestyle after you are single. If you take this step early in the process, you will be more prepared for bills, savings, and all of the other critical financial decisions that you will face over the coming months as you re-establish your own household.

 

Finding the Right Divorce Coach

Hiring a divorce coach may seem like a simple way to make muddling through the divorce process simpler, healthier, and more cost-effective. While separate from a relationship with a divorce lawyer or therapist, a divorce coach offers a unique selection of services, which can help you navigate the process with increased ease.

When you begin your search for a qualified divorce coach, make sure to check all of their qualifications. In order to take a closer look at your finances, you may want to find a professional who has experience in money management or financial planning. Also consider the training, classes, and certifications they have earned to be divorce coaches.

Assembling a team of the best professionals is critical to success, and you should definitely consider your divorce coach’s qualifications before hiring. By settling for someone who is less than qualified, you could miss out on all the benefits that a divorce coach can offer.

 

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.

Jul 25, 2017
This episode is the sixth part in a series about your post-divorce finances. If you have not already heard the first five parts of this series, be sure to listen to them because they build upon each other.
 
By now, you should have outlined your financial goals, found out how to choose a financial advisor, and learned some key financial terms and concepts. Even if you are early in the divorce process, planning ahead will help you know what you need to think about during the divorce.
 
How do you know that your financial advisor is doing a good job? You may not keep the same advisor for the rest of your life, and in some cases, you may want to consider changing advisors. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may want to change sooner rather than later:
 
1) Your investment performance is worse than the benchmarks.
 
Monitoring your investment performance is an important part of assessing your investment strategy. For a given year, what return are you receiving on your accounts? Of course, stocks fluctuate from day to day and year to year. To see how your investments are performing, compare them to benchmarks (i.e., groups of other stocks).
 
For example, the S&P 500 is an index of the top 50 stocks in the US. Perhaps your stocks went up 5% in one year, but the S&P 500 went up 7%. If so, you may want to ask your advisor why. However, perhaps the stock market as a whole went down one year, but you lost more money than the benchmark. If so, that is a problem.
 
If you see a trend where your portfolio is repeatedly performing worse than the benchmark year after year, you should strongly consider making a change. We recommend that you do your own research to learn what the best benchmarks are to accurately compare your portfolio.
 
2) Your investment portfolio is overly complicated.
For most people, a few investments are enough. Those investments might be funds, such as an index fund that contains 500 stocks. However, each investment will be a single line item in your portfolio.
 
Reportedly, Warren Buffet, a great investor, plans for his money to be invested in just two funds after he dies: 10% in short-term government bonds, and 90% in Vanguard’s low-cost S&P 500 index fund. Keep in mind that Buffet is a billionaire, but the point is that it is fine to have a simple portfolio. You should understand every investment in your portfolio. If you have 50 different line items in your portfolio, it probably is not a good sign.
 
3) You have red-flag investments in your portfolio.
You should probably not have some types of investments in your account if you are listening to this podcast. You are unlikely to need any high-fee investments; they are probably unsuitable for you and your lifestyle. Low-fee investments will help you earn more money over time from your investments.
 
Below is a list of investments that are not appropriate for most people. If you have these investments, you should reconsider keeping them:
  • Structured products
  • Annuities
  • Hedge funds
  • Private equity funds
  • Any kind of illiquid fund, which involves locking your money up for 2 years or more
  • Options
  • Any sort of directional strategy
  • Anything that cannot be explained in a few sentences, or that takes up more than one sheet of paper to explain in-depth
  • Anything that has high fees (over 1.5% for any investment fund)
 
To decide if your financial advisor is doing a good job for you, you should look at the three points above. Of course, they are general recommendations, so please take your own circumstances into account. Remember to seek professional guidance about making the best decision for you.
 
In the next episode, we will discuss the financial documents that you will need to update after your divorce.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 20, 2017
This was originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.

 

Dealing with the legal aspects of divorce can be convoluted, time-consuming, and frustrating. Therefore, it can seem overwhelming. The attorneys on both sides want to start with as much information as possible. You can hire divorce attorneys to gather and exchange this information.

This process is called an interrogatory or discovery, and it can work against you if you are not careful. Below is an explanation of the process. That way, you can understand it a bit better and proceed with more knowledge and caution.

 

What Is Discovery?

In any legal proceeding, each side has information that the other side needs before moving forward with negotiations or going to court. Remember, that information is exchanged during the discovery process.

There are several types of discovery for legal proceedings. The discovery for a divorce is called an interrogatory because of the way the questionnaire is designed.

Most states have a limit to the number of items on the interrogatory questionnaire. That way, one side does not bog the other side down with too much busywork. If given the chance, some lawyers would give the opposition an amount of information that is impossible to acquire.

A maximum response time is also allowed, which ensures that the divorce does not get held up because one side takes too much time with the discovery. The usual response time is around 30 days, but you should follow up with your state to make sure. There is an option to ask for an extension, but for it to be granted, you will need to show a good reason and an open line of communication with the other side.

 

Financial Interrogatory

This interrogatory involves the exchange of financial information for the division of property and alimony.

These questionnaires vary, but they universally ask for the following information in one form or another:

  • An itemization of income and assets
  • A record of how often you are paid
  • A list of all bank and investment accounts
  • The identity of witnesses you will be using in the case
  • Exhibits and evidence you will be using if the case goes to court

 

Custody Interrogatory

This exchange of information is used to determine the custody of the children, which is when a lot of divorces get difficult. It is never a good idea to let any kind of emotional response through in a discovery document, so try to remain as factual as possible.

The interrogatory will mainly consist of questions about your spouse, especially regarding anything that might deem them as an unfit parent.

If you make any allegations claiming that your spouse is unfit, make sure that they are accurate. Then you can easily back them up with a good amount of proper evidence. If you are stretching the truth in any way, it will backfire and make you look bad in the eyes of the court.

There will also be a list to prove childcare expenses so that any child-support deals can be worked out.  The requested expenses will mainly consist of:

  • Tuition and school supplies
  • Babysitters
  • Clothing
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Medical treatment

There is also a space on the custody interrogatory, where you can respond to any allegations that have been made against your character. Make sure to provide as much evidence as possible that proves that the allegations are false, which can include character-witness affidavits, affidavits from teachers and coaches, emails, and texts.

 

Watch Out for Trick Questions

One cannot stress how important it is to follow instructions to the letter. It is a lawyer’s job to try to get more out of the other side whenever possible, so bear in mind that any interrogatory used in a divorce proceeding will use as much legalese as possible. It is always a good idea to get outside consulting, either from a lawyer or a divorce coach. Then you can make sure that you have not missed anything, and that you have not provided too much information.

Make sure that you have checked, rechecked, and triple-checked everything. This process is another reason why it is a good idea to hire an outside consultant. Objective, fresh eyes will help you see mistakes, especially anything that is missing, which could count against you in court.

Do not put this process off until the last minute. It makes you more vulnerable to mistakes, and it raises the impact of the stress of the divorce, which is already going to be stressful enough.

As you can see, an interrogatory is one of the most important parts of your divorce process. To move forward in a way that benefits you, you need to answer interrogatories that your spouse’s divorce attorneys send you in the best, most strategic way possible.

The best strategy is to supply exactly the right amount of information, but it is extremely difficult to implement. You need your attorney to go through it with you, but it can be time-consuming. And remember, lawyers’ billable hours can be very costly.

To save yourself headaches, ask your attorney to help you with the interrogatory process. They have been trained to know exactly how to handle these kinds of questions to maximize your benefit.

Whichever way you choose to go, it is always advised to get started early. The sooner you get it filled out, the sooner the divorce can wrap up, and you can move forward.

 

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.

 

Jul 20, 2017
This episode is the fifth part in a series about your post-divorce finances. This series will help you make more informed decisions about your finances during and after your divorce. If you have not already heard the first four parts of this series, be sure to listen to them because they build upon each other. This episode will use a lot of the terminology that was explained in the last episode.
 
Here, we will discuss the investments you will need in your post-divorce life. Investments are a very complicated topic, and people spend their entire careers specializing on a single facet of investing. Therefore, this series will only be a brief introduction.
 
When you sign your divorce papers, you will usually find yourself with a sum of money. The amount will vary, but you will probably not want to leave it in a bank account. Rather, you will more than likely want to invest it so that you will see better returns.
 
Most of you have many years left ahead of you, so you will want to plan for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that you do not need to rush to invest as soon as the divorce is settled. Many people take some time to settle into their new lives before making major financial decisions.
 
To keep it simple, you will probably want to invest in a mix of stocks and bonds. More elaborate investments are unnecessary. The sooner you expect to withdraw that money, the more bonds you should have.
 
Stocks suffer from the volatility of the market. Therefore, if you are older and your portfolio is stock-heavy, you may find that an economic downturn has a severe financial effect on you. However, if it will be many years before you need to use that money, it makes sense to invest in stocks. As long as the economy continues to grow, your stocks could increase in value over the long-term. If you wait out any short-term volatility, you will receive higher returns.
 
Bonds have less volatility, although they also have lower returns. If you are near retirement, then your investment portfolio will probably have more money invested in bonds than stocks. You want to have the certainty that the money will be there when you need it.
 
Depending on your financial advisor, you may consider commodities (e.g., gold, oil, wheat) or real estate. However, mutual funds and hedge funds are still essentially investments in stocks and bonds that are managed for you.
 
Investment returns are uncertain, but one thing that is certain is that lower fees will give you better returns over the long term. For both stocks and bonds, index funds have lower fees. There is nothing wrong with a simple, boring investment portfolio.
 
Ultimately, it will be best if you understand what you are investing in. If you do not understand it, you do not have to put your money into it. You will need to do further research to understand all of your options, but remember that a lower-cost option will ultimately benefit you in the long run.
 
In the next episode, we will discuss how to tell if your financial advisor is doing a good job for you.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 18, 2017
"After divorce or a big life change, whatever it is, and you’re on your own, just take some time to get acquainted, get back with yourself, figure out what you’re doing, what’s important to you, and get up running. That’s really the first place you start before making any rushed financial decisions, because that’s a good way to make a big error without thinking about it.”
 
Marriage over. Divorce papers signed. Money transferred. Rest of your life begins. Now what?
 
One challenge after divorce is figuring out who can help you plan your finances for the rest of your life. There are many different financial advisors (and people who call themselves financial advisors), investment strategies, terminology, and calculations to consider after divorce. How do you begin to make the right decisions?
 
In this episode Shawn is interviewed by Clinical Psychologist Dr. Robbin Rockett, Psy. D, the host of “Solo Parent Life” podcast.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services and a full transcript of this episode. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 13, 2017
This episode is the fourth part of a series on your post-divorce finances. If you have not already heard the first three episodes, please go back and listen to them first. Even if you are in the early or middle stages of a divorce, this series will help you define your financial goals for the rest of your life. It is important to define those goals early in the divorce process, so that you know what is important to negotiate throughout it.
 
This episode will discuss finance and investment terminology that you need to know while going through your divorce. We will just cover some of the most important terms, so that you can follow these finance conversations more easily.
Here are 13 key financial terms to know:
 
Asset – anything you own that has value (such as a house, car, computer, baseball card collection, or investment account)
 
Debts – money you owe to other people (such as loans and credit cards)
 
Balance sheet – a summary of all of your assets and all of your debts on one page. This sheet covers the same information as a financial affidavit in a divorce. It is important to note that a balance sheet is a snapshot of your financial situation on a particular date, because assets can fluctuate in value over time.
 
Stock – ownership in a company (same as equity). It can be a share of a publicly traded stock, or an equity in a private company (such as a small business).
 
Bond – money that you loan as an investment, typically to a company or government. You will be paid interest until they are ready to repay the loan. Keep in mind that bonds are a very complicated topic.
 
Portfolio – the combination of investments that you own. They can be stocks, bonds, real estate, any other type of investment, or a combination of different types.
 
Asset allocation – the percentage of your portfolio in stocks, bonds, or other investment types. For example, a younger person may have an asset allocation of 80% stocks and 20% bonds, whereas an older person might have a higher percentage of bonds and real estate.
 
Risk – uncertainty about how your assets will perform. Some forms of investment carry more risk than others.
 
Index – a group of stocks or investments. They may group similar stocks (such small companies, large companies, and international companies), bonds, or other investments. Often, they are followed over time to measure how the group is performing, or how a country’s economy is doing. Therefore, they are often used as benchmarks (such as NASDAQ and S&P 500). One related financial concept (that we will not be able to cover in this episode) is a type of investment called index funds, but you can research it on your own to learn more.
 
Mutual fund – a common type of investment that involves a company pooling money from different investors. This combined money is invested by a manager, and each investor’s returns are carefully measured. The investment strategies for mutual funds vary; they may invest in stocks, bonds, real estate, or international companies.
 
Hedge fund – similar to a mutual fund, but typically with a very high minimum investment ($500,000 and up, depending on the fund).
 
Capital gain – the amount of money that you receive when selling an investment that exceeds the price you paid for it. For example, if you bought a house for $100,000 and sold it for $120,000, you would have a capital gain of $20,000. This term is important because you will owe capital gains tax on that $20,000. During your divorce, you will need to be aware of how much capital gain each of the assets you will receive will have, so that you are not stuck with a large, unexpected tax bill.
 
Inflation – the concept that prices of goods and services generally increase over time. Costs of everything from gas to bubblegum to homes are higher today than they were fifty years ago, because of inflation.
 
If you would like to learn more about finance, start regularly reading the Wall Street Journal. If you look up terms and companies that you do not know, you will learn a lot about the finance world. In the next episode, we will talk about which types of investments to consider when you plan your post-divorce finances.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 11, 2017
This was originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.

Abandonment divorce, also known as desertion, is basically defined as one spouse leaving against the will of the other spouse. Sometimes, this situation occurs when one spouse leaves and is never heard from again. Other times, it can happen when things seem to be going well, and there are no signs of unhappiness; then all of a sudden, divorce is sought, and they become cold, distant, and completely different.

Whichever way abandonment divorce happens, it is often traumatic and brutal. Your world will feel like it is falling apart. However, there are ways to stop the downward spiral that inevitably comes from something this heartbreaking.

 

1) Know Your Rights

Some states require a certain amount of time. Most say a year, but some require more time before abandonment or desertion can be claimed for divorce. Make sure to look up your state laws to see how long you have to wait.

Be aware that some situations do not count as grounds for abandonment, including a mutual agreement to separate, unexpected military service, and fleeing an abusive situation. Even though these reasons are valid, they make closure more difficult.

A judge will decide whether there is a case for abandonment on a case-by-case basis, which means you will have to provide ample evidence that your spouse disappeared without any support or warning.

Sometimes, it can be hard to prove abandonment. You will have to prove that they left of their own free will, or have not been present in the marriage. You will also have to prove that they have not been financially contributing to anything in the household or family. It takes a lot of work. It will feel a lot less overwhelming if you seek help with collecting evidence as soon as possible. A divorce coach can help you find the evidence you need.

 

2) Counseling

Your confidence will take a hit. It is hard not to take abandonment personally, even though you should not. The trauma of the whole situation will lead to much confusion and many unanswered questions. An objective observer, such as a therapist, can help you see things with a better perspective.

In all likelihood, you will have an obsession for wanting answers that may never come, which is perfectly natural. You should be kind to yourself during this natural grieving process. A therapist will help you see how to accept that some questions may never be answered.

These emotions are powerful. If you try to deal with them all by yourself, it will only lead to burnout or breakdown, so allow yourself to seek the help you need.

 

3) Acceptance

What happened was wrong, and accepting that fact is the only way to move on. Accept that it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with your spouse. This acceptance can go a long way in helping you heal from abandonment divorce.

Many people who choose abandonment have mental health problems. Once you are able to realize this fact, you will see that it has nothing to do with your worth.

 

What if They Come Back before a Year Passes?

If they come back and can prove it, the clock resets. Therefore, if they leave again, you have to wait another year—or whatever the amount of time is in your state—before you can file for abandonment divorce.

Also, the amount of time that they remain when they return does not factor into this law.  They could return for a single day with the intention of working things out. In some cases, spouses will go back and forth between returning and disappearing, just so they can avoid divorce.

This situation will make abandonment much more difficult to be grounds for divorce. A divorce professional can help you figure out the direction to go in this kind of situation.

Sometimes, it might be better to look for other grounds, which might also apply to your situation. You have options; abandonment is just one of them. Emotional abuse is often the next option spouses choose as grounds.

Whichever way you go, you will need to collect evidence. Make sure you have all the information that is required by your state.

If you experience abandonment without a prior warning that anything was wrong, it will likely put you in panic mode and make you highly emotional, which is perfectly understandable. Subsequently, many people overlook options they never knew they had.

Consider talking to a divorce coach, so that you can have an objective observer guide you through this tumultuous time. A divorce coach will know where to look when you are feeling overwhelmed. Whichever route you choose, just remember that it is not the end of the world. It will get better, and you will find yourself again.

 

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.

Jul 11, 2017
This episode is the third part in a series on managing your finances after divorce. Although it might feel far away, the day will soon come when you need to plan for the rest of your post-divorce life. This series will help you do that. In the first part, we discussed three key goals to keep in mind for your life after divorce. The second part covered different types of financial advisors, as well as the one question you need to ask to find out if a financial advisor will act in your best interest. If you have not listened to those two episodes yet, please do!
 
In this episode, we will discuss how to choose a financial advisor in more detail. Feel free to meet with several financial advisors throughout this process. They will not charge you for the initial meetings until you hire them. It is recommended that you interview at least 3-5 financial advisors to find one that is right for you. Then you can compare proposals and get the financial advisors to compete with each other. This episode will give you tips about what to ask during the interview process.
 
There are three main questions to cover when interviewing a financial advisor. They will not be quick answers. You will have to work together to get to a final answer. The three topics are:
 
1) Can they make a budget and financial plan for you?
Remember the three key goals from the first part of this series:
  • Get out of debt.
  • Save for retirement.
  • Have an emergency fund.
 
A financial advisor can help you prepare a budget to meet these goals. You will need to share information about your income, assets, and debts to make a plan. Even if you are not in the place that you want to be (or you have made some financial mistakes in the past), a financial advisor can help you reach your goals. Ask them to prepare a budget and a financial plan. Make sure they explain it and that it makes sense to you. You can compare the different financial plans from the 3-5 advisors that you are interviewing, and see which one you prefer.
 
2) What kind of investment portfolio do they recommend?
They may recommend stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, or a combination. A future episode in this series will talk about these different investments in-depth. Get a detailed proposal from each prospective advisor, compare them, and do your own research. You can even give each advisor the proposals from their competitors, and ask them to explain why their proposal is the best one.
 
3) What fees do they plan on charging you?
Broadly speaking, there are two levels of fees:
  • Fees for the specific investments they recommend
  • Fees that the investment advisor charges to manage your assets (typically a percentage of your assets)
 
There is an entire chapter in Managing Private Wealth: Principles that is devoted to fees. It is a complicated topic, so this episode will only cover the basics. To simplify, you can ask each financial advisor what the total annual fees will be for all of the investments they are recommending. Typically, they will quote it to you in terms of a percentage of your assets. Be sure to translate that percentage into a dollar amount, so you will know exactly what you will be paying.
 
You can often negotiate better fees by considering multiple advisors at the same time, because they will compete with each other. These fees will add up over the years. Depending on how much you are investing, you could save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by negotiating lower fees.
 
Conclusion
There is one red flag to keep in mind as you interview advisors: if they guarantee you a certain return, run away. Responsible financial advisors will not guarantee anything, but scammers will.
 
The next episode will cover some important financial terminology, so that you can be better prepared for conversations with financial advisors. Then you can plan for your post-divorce life.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 6, 2017
This episode is the second part of a multipart series on your post-divorce finances. Part 1 discussed the three essential financial goals to think about as you plan your post-divorce life. Even if you are not very far along in the divorce process, your divorce will be over at some point. Therefore, this series will help you plan for the rest of your life.
 
In this episode, you will get an overview of financial advisors and financial planners, including what these terms mean and how to choose one. Many people do not understand how the finance industry works. The fact is that the incentives in the finance industry are often not structured to benefit you (the investor). Financial firms are businesses, and like any business, their goal is to make money. It is very important for you to know about the different kinds of financial professionals, and how they make their money. There is one critical question to ask a financial advisor that you are thinking about working with: “How do you get paid?”
 
This question might seem intrusive to the average person, but it is important for you to know what kind of pay structure they are under. They may get paid directly by you, or they may receive commissions. But generally, they get a fixed fee that you agree upon. Regarding commissions, they may receive one every time you buy or sell an investment, or they may charge you a markup on the cost of the investment. Because they are compensated to sell you certain financial products, their incentives are not necessarily in your best interest.
 
Like stockbrokers, these professionals can be considered brokers, or they may be “dually registered,” which means they receive both fixed fees and commissions. If they state that their securities are offered by a certain financial institution, it is an indication that they are receiving commissions.
 
Fee-only financial advisors (not to be confused with fee-based) charge you a fixed fee— whether it is to create a budget or financial plan, or to manage your investments. In the latter case, they are often paid a fixed percentage of your assets each year. (The typical fee is 0.5 – 1%.) Fees can add up over time, so it is wise to negotiate for the best fee possible, which the next episode will discuss further.
 
Financial advisors are not necessarily required to act in your best interest, which surprises many people. But advisors who receive commissions can actually recommend things that are not in your best interest.
 
The finance industry has a word for a financial advisor who must act in your best interest: a fiduciary. This person is legally required to act in your best interest, and they do not receive commissions. They only receive a fixed fee that you pay them. So rather than asking prospective financial advisors how they get paid, you can simply ask, “Are you a fiduciary?” If the answer is “no,” you should strongly consider looking elsewhere. Brokers can be useful in certain situations, but it is important to understand how their business works. That way, you will not get harmed by it.
 
In the next episode, you will learn some key tips for interviewing your post-divorce financial professionals.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
Jul 5, 2017
This was originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.
 

A separation can be a confusing financial time. If you are still legally married but living apart, deciding who should pay the bills can be a difficult endeavor. Significant financial strain accompanies the attempt to maintain two separate households on the same income, but remember, the consequences for letting bills slide can be severe.

Below, you can find some practical answers to your top questions about paying the bills during separation:

 

Who is responsible for the payments?

In most cases, there is one clear-cut answer that makes it a little easier to divide up responsibilities. The spouse who has their name on the bill each month is usually the one who is ultimately responsible for issuing payment on a regular, timely basis.

In some scenarios, such as a mortgage payment, joint credit card account, or car loan, both spouses may have their name on the bill. When both spouses are listed as responsible parties to the debt, failure to pay those bills on time will result in credit damage to both parties.

You will need to consider the long-term ramifications of missing payments when you are financially responsible and able to pay. Even if you feel that it is your partner’s responsibility to cover that expense, you should still make sure that payment is issued for each and every bill. Otherwise, you could incur severe credit damage, which will make it difficult to qualify for future loans or mortgages.

Who should pay for what?

The decision about who is responsible for payments is largely a personal one, which is based on the unique factors of your marriage and divorce (including your finances, emotions, and ongoing relationship).

The spouse whose name is listed on the bill is usually responsible for that bill, but it the specifics of the marital home can get complicated. For example, one spouse may have their name on the mortgage, while the other continues to reside in the marital home. Household expenses can be shared, but they may not be equally split between spouses, depending on the income level of each partner.

If one spouse pays all of the mortgage and household expenses, even while maintaining their own separate residence, you may have significant financial repercussions before the divorce is finalized. This cost can add up to thousands of dollars, which is a major disadvantage to the responsible party.

 

Can you receive temporary spousal support?

It should be no secret that the incomes of two spouses are not always equal. If one person is a significantly higher earner than the other, the financially disadvantaged spouse may be able to request temporary spousal support while they try to figure out their newly single income. This support may also apply during situations when one spouse has been out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

Temporary spousal support is not likely to cover every penny of your expenses, but it can certainly be a welcome addition to your monthly income for a period of time. It can assist with paying bills while you search for a better job or a higher-paying position in your current field. The financial gaps can be substantially lessened, giving you breathing room and a better opportunity to establish financial security for your single lifestyle.

The additional benefit to this method of gaining assistance in paying your bills is that it does not have long-term consequences for your credit. The bills have a greater chance of being paid on-time with the financial assistance of your spouse, so it is more likely to make sure your credit score stays in pristine condition. As a result, you will be more eligible for future loans, mortgages, or credit cards.

 

Final thoughts

As you split your household into two separate residences, making decisions about who should pay for which bills is a stress-fueled time for every couple. Especially in situations where income was not equally divided between the two spouses, there can be serious financial strain from covering all of the new household expenses. Opting to ignore past-due bills will only create more headaches for your financial future by wreaking havoc on your credit score, including eligibility for future loans and programs.

Ultimately, the decision about who should pay the bills during a separation will be based upon the unique relationship of the couple, as well as their financial status. To make the best decision for both of you, consider what each spouse is able and willing to pay during this time.

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?

Divorce+and+Your+Money+Podcast.jpeg

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

 

Subscribe Here

 

Jul 4, 2017
This episode begins a multipart series about post-divorce finances. Even if you are early in the divorce process, this series will help you plan your life after your divorce.
 
After making a settlement, many people find themselves wondering what the next step is for their finances. Should they start by making a budget, choosing a financial advisor, or deciding what investments to make? This process can be daunting, so this series will help you navigate those decisions.
 
Imagine that you are at the end of your divorce process. Your assets have been divided, and it dawns on you that you have to plan the rest of your life. Many people have to financially rebuild after divorce. You may need to recalibrate some of your goals. This episode focuses on the goals that you will need to think about regarding your post-divorce finances. 
 
We can narrow these goals down to three basic areas:
  1. Get out of debt
  2. Save for retirement
  3. Have money for an emergency
 
In order to achieve these goals, you will need a budget to plan your spending, which you should do while negotiating a settlement or going through mediation. As you get to the end of your divorce, take some time to refine the details of your budget. In order to achieve the three goals above, will you need to cut expenses or increase your income? Each of these areas are very in-depth topics on their own. There are many books, professionals, and other resources devoted to each one.
 
The issues we will cover in this series are complicated. In fact, professionals spend their entire careers specializing in these areas, so these episodes will just be introductions. Here are the topics that will be covered in the next five episodes:
  • What kind of financial advisor you should use
  • How to choose a financial advisor
  • What all of the financial terms mean
  • Which types of investments to consider
  • How to know if your financial advisor is doing a good job
 
In the next episode, you will hear some important warnings about the finance industry, and find out if a financial advisor is going to act in your best interest.
 
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.
1