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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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Aug 17, 2017

This was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Deciding to end a marriage is not an easy decision—because it is such a huge life change, and there are so many layers to a divorce (such as emotional, financial, and legal). Having every base covered can be difficult. Many people make mistakes that can leave them in a terrible position, which they could never have foreseen.

If you have decided that your marriage cannot be saved, it is imperative that you act now to protect yourself from every kind of damage that other people have already suffered because they did not have foresight.

It will take some work, but you can avoid all of this damage. With the right preparation and help from professionals, you can take control and have confidence in moving forward with your divorce.

The very first thing you need to do is hire an attorney. However, there are things you can do on your own that will keep you ahead of the game if you cannot immediately afford a lawyer.

Keep a Record of Everything

During your interactions with your spouse, try to stay as even and unemotional as possible. If you let your emotions take over, it can lead you to act in a way that could come back to haunt you in court. The best way to handle things is to walk away, and try your best not to react to any button-pushing or argumentative behavior.

But remember, turnabout is fair play. Therefore, make a record of any and all negative behavior from your spouse. Record every phone call, save every text and email, and detail every argument they start, especially if it occurs in front of your children. It does not matter how minimal an argument seems. And of course any threat or form of abuse (whether emotional or physical) should undoubtedly be recorded; if severe enough, a police report should be filed.

Get notarized letters from friends/family/acquaintances/coworkers/colleagues who have observed you as a family and can back up your side of things. If the divorce goes to court, these letters will serve as character references and witness statements that you can file as affidavits. It is important to have them ready to go, because things can move very fast once the divorce goes full-throttle.

Finances

Organize all of your paperwork. Immediately cancel any joint credit cards and/or other lines of credit. If your spouse refuses to cancel them, then see about getting your name removed from the accounts. You want to avoid being responsible for any spending sprees. Also, make sure you have an individual bank account.

Be certain to get all copies of:

·      Any joint financial and/or investment accounts.

If you can, divide and close the accounts. If dividing is an issue, put the money in a trust account until the divorce is concluded. Conversely, you can take out whatever you can prove you have a right to, and open up an individual account for that amount. Once you have taken this action, make sure you notify your spouse by sending them a notarized letter.

·      Tax papers, both joint and individual.

·      Health insurance.

·      Important legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and/or prenuptial agreements

·      Property documents

·      Your credit report and credit rating.

·      Proof of income

·      Any receipts of luxury items or big purchases that were bought for the home or family.

Examples include cameras, computers, cars, boats, and vacation homes. Try to come to an agreement about selling them and splitting the money. This action takes the pressure off fighting for these items, or having them being considered community or family property. Once these declarations have been made, you will not be able to sell them.

·      Paperwork for any shared safe deposit boxes.

Calculate

·      Your total income and your spouse’s total income

·      Your individual assets

·      Your debts, both joint and individual

Your retirement account might be on the chopping block. Stop any contribution to this account until everything has been settled. Your spouse will most likely have a right to a percentage of what is currently in it, but anything put in after the divorce settlement will be yours.

Any valuables that you can prove you own individually should be removed from the house. To avoid damage due to revenge or retaliation, it should then be stored in a safe place.

Custody

Decide whether or not you are able to stay in the house. It is important to note that the spouse who stays in the house has the advantage regarding custody. However, your emotional health is of the utmost importance. You have to be able to stay balanced and not break down in any way that can be used against you.

If you are not able to stay in the house alone, see if you can work out a shared living situation, including a schedule. That way, you are both able to live in the house but minimize chances of encountering each other.

Make sure the notarized letters mentioned earlier discuss positive aspects of you as a parent.

Make a formal agreement between the two of you for shared custody during the divorce. If you can work it out with your spouse before the divorce and custody hearings, things will go much more smoothly.

If you cannot agree, then go to a mediator. If you go to family court, it is important to show a willingness to compromise and work with your spouse. If your spouse is unwilling to compromise, record every detail of the situation. Show that you wanted to compromise, but your spouse refused.

Do not settle for less than joint custody. It is very difficult to get a better custody settlement later, so you need to immediately get the best settlement you can.

Emotional Health

To help you stay balanced, look into a therapist who specializes in divorce. They can offer an objective view of things. Most of them will also teach healthy coping mechanisms, so that you will not fly off the handle when things get emotional.

To help you gain perspective during such an emotional time, research an experienced divorce professional. They can help you avoid bad decisions that you might not anticipate working against you.

Any sentimental items should be treated the same as valuables. Store them in a safe place outside the house. Examples include photos, keepsakes, and cards.

Divorce is an emotional time. You will encounter a lot of history, memories, and feelings of betrayal, which can make things very confusing. If you have all of your ducks in a row, it will go a long way in avoiding the mistakes that this kind of confusion can cause. Protect yourself now, and you can avoid a lot trauma that many people have suffered when they acted without foresight.

Most people do not realize that they have more control over their divorce than they realize. Now you can apply that knowledge.

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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