Divorce and Your Money - #1 Divorce Podcast

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Now displaying: August, 2017
Aug 31, 2017
When does spousal support end? Whether you are going to be paying or receiving it, it is important to know. Most of the time, spousal support will not last forever. State laws vary, but they are relatively consistent about what conditions cause spousal support to end. It should be written in your settlement agreement; if not, consider adding these conditions in.
Here are the five cases where spousal support ends:
1) When the recipient of spousal support dies. If the person receiving spousal support passes away, the support ends. It will not be passed along to a child or another party.
2) When the payer of spousal support dies. If the person paying support dies, support can end. That support may be essential to your livelihood, so you can find yourself in a very difficult position if you were receiving support. Two previous episodes of this podcast (58 and 91) discuss life insurance to cover any remaining support obligations. This is highly recommended for anyone who’s receiving spousal support.
3) When the recipient remarries or cohabitates with another person. If you are receiving support and you marry a new person, the support will end. In some cases, people try to get around this by living with a partner without marrying them. However, divorce settlements typically specify that if you live with a new partner for a certain amount of time, your support will end. This can be as little as 2 or 3 months or as long as a year of cohabitation. You may wonder how your ex-spouse will know if you are cohabitating. In some cases, the ex will hire a private investigator to find out.
4) When the payer of spousal support retires. When someone retires, they usually will not continue to pay spousal support. However, there are cases where you can end up paying support even after you retire. You can negotiate this in your settlement agreement, so think about this in advance.
5) When there has been a substantial change in financial situation for either party. If the person paying support loses their job for a substantial period of time or if they become disabled, they may be able to renegotiate spousal support. Conversely, if the person receiving spousal support suddenly receives a large inheritance, their ex may request renegotiation.
For many of these cases, you need to still know what is going on in your spouse’s life to some extent in order to know if you could renegotiate spousal support. You may not have any desire to communicate with your ex-spouse again, but you may want to informally keep up with what is going on in their life through acquaintances. If possible, it’s helpful to know if any conditions change that might affect the support obligations.
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Aug 29, 2017
To get over 40 hours of information organized into easy topics, visit our Store. There you will find the best divorce resource in the United States – all 150 episodes of the podcast, organized to make it easy to find the information you need.
In this episode, we will discuss a common misconception. Sometimes, people will have an urge to punish their soon-to-be-ex-spouse in the divorce, so they look for the most aggressive attorney that they can find. Attorneys know that many people have that mentality, so some of them are marketing heavily to you in search engines. They may be paying $25 or $50 per click when you search for aggressive divorce attorneys, just for you to just visit their website. They want to persuade you to hire a tough attorney, especially when you are angry, so they can convince you that you need a fighter.
However, that might not be in your best interests. In some circumstances, an aggressive attorney may make sense, but for most people, it does not. Let’s face it – most people want to get divorce over as quickly as possible, with a fair result, and at a reasonable cost. Most of you just want to get what is fair, without bankrupting yourself in the process. Even if you hate your ex-spouse, you probably just want a reasonable result and to move on with the rest of your life.
Here are four reasons why you might want to avoid an aggressive attorney:
1) The divorce will be much more expensive. An aggressive attorney is going to be a lot more expensive because every issue becomes a big fight. You will always be on the offensive, submitting motions, and hiring experts. The attorney’s billable hours will pile up. What could have been a $5,000 - $10,000 divorce can become a $100,000 divorce very quickly. Your attorney will goad you into more fights, creating more expense. You may end up spending $5,000 fighting over a $200 set of silverware.
On top of that, you will not be able to get to a settlement very easily. Aggressive attorneys want to fight it out, drag your ex through the mud, and punish them. That punishment comes at your expense – selling your cars, emptying your retirement accounts, and double-mortgaging your home.
2) Judges hate aggressive attorneys. The probability that you will be settling your divorce is lower with an aggressive attorney, so you will end up spending more time in front of a judge. Judges have a good sense of the local attorneys, an over-stuffed docket, and they don’t want to spend a lot of time on any one case. This is why many judges don’t like aggressive attorneys, and find them an annoyance.
Picture a yappy chihuahua barking at a stranger – all bite and no bark – versus a relaxed chocolate lab. An aggressive attorney is like a chihuahua, making lots of noise about small things that don’t really matter. This is how many judges feel about aggressive attorneys. Every little thing becomes a big issue and a waste of time. It frustrates judges, and they often treat the client as an extension of that attorney. If you have an attorney that the judge likes, you can end up with a more favorable outcome.
3) Aggressive does not mean effective, and it does not mean tough. My favorite attorneys are pretty low-key, but they are experienced, sharp, and devastatingly effective. They may never raise their voice or show much emotion, but they crush some of the more aggressive attorneys with their tenacity. You do not need an aggressive attorney to get a good result. One of my favorite sayings is, “An empty can rattles the loudest.” There’s nothing actually in the can. Many aggressive attorneys are all bark and no bite, and don’t have a lot of substance to them. A skilled attorney who doesn’t have an aggressive style usually wins the day.
4) It is emotionally draining. Divorce is already tough enough, but when you add an aggressive attorney or two to the mix, it creates an all-out war. Aggressive attorneys have a tendency to misconstrue the truth. They sometimes come out with wild accusations, adding conflict to the process, and it ultimately is not helpful to their case. It may feel good at first to get fired up and try to punish your spouse, but this is ultimately a business deal – splitting up your assets, debt and property. Adding emotion to the process is not helpful. Your objective should be to put yourself in the best position possible for the rest of your life after the divorce.
For most people, aggressive attorneys are not a good choice. They are expensive, judges don’t like them, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up in a better place. To be fair, some situations can call for an aggressive attorney. For example, if you have a custody dispute and there is a serious mental issue, a history of abuse, or an alcoholic spouse, then an aggressive attorney might be worth considering. However, for most people, it is not the best choice.
Before you go, visit
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
Thank you for listening!
Aug 24, 2017
This episode discusses the concept of a capital loss carryover. You might not be familiar with this important term. If you have a capital loss carryover, it is a valuable asset that needs to be treated as such in your divorce.
What is a capital loss carryover? You may be familiar with capital gains. A capital loss is exactly the opposite. When you make an investment in a house, a stock, or a bond, you expect to make money on it. However, all investments have risk, so sometimes, they decrease in value. When you sell an investment for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss.
In previous episodes, we have discussed paying capital gains taxes when you make money on an investment. In contrast, a capital loss allows you to write off future taxes, which is called a capital loss carryover.
Here is an example with simple numbers: You have an investment, and you lost $100 when you sold it. A couple of years go by, and you have a different investment that has a gain of $30. Normally, you would have to pay tax on that $30, but your previous loss will cover those taxes for you. You will still have $70 in losses left over. However, if  you sell another investment for a $200 gain down the line, you will not have to pay taxes on the full amount. Your $70 capital loss carryover will reduce the taxable amount to $130. At that point, your capital loss will be exhausted.
Here is the point: capital losses help you offset future capital gains taxes. You can even write off part of your annual income taxes because of your capital loss. Because these losses can lower your tax bill going forward, they are considered an asset. Think of it as a gift card for your future taxes.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of your capital loss carryover during a divorce. If you are not aware you have a capital loss, you cannot negotiate for it, so your spouse would get all of the tax reductions going forward.
How do you find out if you have a capital loss carryover? You can find it on your tax return in Schedule D.
Consider seeking help from an accountant or a certified divorce financial analysist. Then you will not miss something that could benefit you.
Before you go, visit
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
Thank you for listening!
Aug 22, 2017
This is the 150th episode of the Divorce and Your Money Show. There are now over 40 hours of information to help you through one of the most difficult times of your life.
One of the challenges with a podcast is that there is no order to the episodes. We have covered so many different topics, and it can be difficult to find the information that you need. You may be working on your financial affidavit, and that’s your only concern for right now. Maybe you’re concerned about your house, and looking for that information. Maybe you’re concerned your spouse is hiding money. It’s difficult to go through all 150 episodes to figure out which episodes are the most relevant for you at your current stage of divorce.
So, we have made a change. If you look at your podcast player, you will see that only the past 10 to 15 episodes are available. We want you to always have the latest information, so you will always have access to the latest episodes. However, the older episodes are now organized into key topics, so you can focus on what is most relevant to you. This way, you can get the information when you need it, such as how to negotiate, dealing with your attorney, and common mistakes in divorce. The episodes are organized into a course called How to Prepare for Divorce. It has all of the podcast episodes, including interviews with experts, for a small fee.
If at any time, you need one-on-one help, you can request an introductory call on our Coaching page. In coaching sessions, you will get personalized help for the issues that matter most to you.
Before you go, visit
1) Sign up for the email list to get exclusive tips you won’t find anywhere else.
2) To get access to the best divorce resources in the United States, check out the store here.
3) Get personalized help. Learn about coaching services here.
Thank you for listening!
Aug 17, 2017

This was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here

For most couples, divorce is a confusing, stressful process as they readjust to maintaining two separate households. If you have gained your conditional or permanent green card throughout your marriage, your stress levels can skyrocket as you consider possibilities. If you find yourself facing a divorce, will you be able to remain in the United States, or will you be deported?

There are a few questions you may want to start considering in regards to your green card status. To get a head start on thinking through the possible scenarios, answer the questions below.

Is your green card permanent?

There is a significant difference between a conditional and permanent green card. A conditional green card allows for residence in the United States for up to two years, which proves that your marriage has weathered the test of time. After two years, you may apply for a permanent version.

If the divorce is finalized before a permanent green card is issued, there is a possibility that ending your marriage could remove the “conditions” of your green card, which would result in deportation. Permanent green cards offer more security because the authorities at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are no longer investigating your file or considering your case. Once a permanent green card has been issued, they have no further reason to reopen your application or file for additional review, unless you decide to apply for US citizenship.

Deciding to pursue citizenship following the finalization of your divorce could be a trickier endeavor. The USCIS will once again need to review the information in your file, and they could request documentation to support your marriage. Many individuals start to fear that their marriage could be viewed as fraudulent, used solely for the purposes of obtaining a green card. As a result, you may be denied citizenship, and the case could be referred to the court system for further actions.

Can you obtain a permanent green card if you get a divorce?

In certain circumstances, the USCIS will still allow individuals to apply for a permanent green card, even if their divorce has already been finalized. One of the main ways that an individual can continue to pursue their permanent green card (even with their marriage dissolved) is to provide proof that they entered into the marriage in good faith, rather than fraudulently.

The USCIS will require you to provide proof that you maintained a real relationship with your spouse and had every intention of remaining with them, barring outside circumstances. You may be asked to provide evidence surrounding the end of the marriage, as well as any records of your attempts to repair the relationship (such as marriage-counseling records). Depending on the reason for the divorce, you may submit evidence or affidavits pertaining to abuse, adultery, or other situations that arise from irreconcilable differences.

How do I file taxes if I have a green card?

Taxes relating to divorce are always tricky, but they can be even more cumbersome if you are a green card holder. Individuals with this status are sometimes referred to as tax citizens, meaning that they are required to report all of their income to the US government, even though they do not hold official citizenship. Income must be reported, even if it is earned in your home country or elsewhere. However, this report does not necessarily mean that the income will be taxed by the US government.

Tax laws surrounding this field are extremely difficult to navigate, because of their many intricacies. To help handle taxes in these types of situations, consider adding a professional onto your team. A tax accountant can be a valuable asset to help you properly file your taxes in a sticky situation.

Find someone who is experienced dealing with tax citizenship and income earned abroad. Inquire about their experience and training, and take careful note of their customer service and personality. Be sure to also ask how billing is handled. Will you charged hourly, by a set fee, per phone call or visit, or by some other type of arrangement?

Divorce with a Green Card

Ending an unhappy marriage does not necessarily have to mean moving back to your country of origin. Do you have the right evidence that your marriage was real, but the differences between the two of you were too great? Then the authorities may still issue you a permanent green card, or even US citizenship.

If you are considering a divorce under these circumstances, make sure that you are prepared for all of the documentation that you may need. Therapy records, information about your marriage counselor, and any relevant history regarding your children will support the reality of your marriage, and it will be extremely helpful in building your case. Divorce can be significantly easier when you are adequately prepared for what lies ahead.

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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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.


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.


·      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.


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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Aug 17, 2017
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.
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.
Aug 15, 2017
When your spouse has a disability of any type, it adds an additional layer of stress to your divorce. Now this already emotionally tumultuous time is filled with extra responsibilities and concerns that must be addressed before your divorce can be finalized. If your spouse has a disability, you will need to contemplate whether they have the long-term capacity to support themselves without your assistance.
When it comes to divorcing a spouse with a disability, what do you need to consider first? Here are the first three questions you will want to start answering now:
1) What level of service do you currently provide for your disabled spouse?
The first thing you will need to do is accurately assess the amount of assistance that you provide for your spouse. Think about all of the things you do for them on a daily basis, including driving them to appointments, helping them shower, and running errands for them. After the divorce is over, these items will still need to be completed, even after they are living on their own.
In order to assess your own role in their care, consider making a detailed list of activities that you regularly assist them with. Make a list of the items that they could perform on their own, as well as the ones they would be incapable of completing without the assistance of another person. An honest evaluation of their abilities will help you answer the next question with more accuracy.
2) Will your spouse need additional services?
Without your daily assistance in caring for them, your evaluation of the level of service you provide them with should help you determine if they will need additional services in your absence. In order to continue their daily care in your absence, you may need to add professional services to maintain their standard of living.
What will the exact arrangements need to be? There could be some level of involvement from family or close friends, combined with professional services. Arrange for a part-time or full-time caregiver, or at least obtain a few estimates of what the overall expenses will be for them to continue their daily care. Now is a great time to begin considering whether your spouse can cover the costs of their current income on their own, or if they will need government assistance.
Based on their newly single income, your spouse may qualify for social security and disability, which can greatly assist the two of you to figure out how to cover the cost of their care without obligating you to continue performing it day after day.
3) Can you afford spousal support?
Are you a significantly higher earner, or is your spouse incapable of earning enough to support themselves financially due to their disability? If so, you may end up paying spousal support to contribute towards their necessary care.
Because your spouse has a disability, your required level of spousal support could typically be higher than the general population. Spousal support is often mandated to help cover the cost of services and care that your spouse will not be able to afford, based on current income or benefits.
Spousal support is often considered permanent in these situations, at least until your spouse has a change in disability status, remarries, or receives new or additional benefits, which would change the necessity of your spousal support. The severity and type of their disability will certainly play a role in determining the monthly amount of spousal support.
This scenario is also possible: you may be required to pay for their health insurance or assist with medical bills, in addition to paying spousal support. As a part of your divorce agreement, you may be able to keep a spouse on an employer-sponsored healthcare plan.
Divorcing with a Disability
It should be no surprise that divorcing a spouse with a disability is likely to entail a greater degree of planning than may otherwise be necessary. Remember, to start off on the right foot, make sure you have a thorough, accurate understanding of what you currently do for your spouse, as well as what would need to be done in your absence. Solutions can vary from having the assistance of a family member to hiring a caregiver.
While you should not remain in a failing marriage that makes you unhappy, you will definitely need to consider the higher rates of spousal support. Alongside your spouse, begin investigating what additional benefits or programs they qualify for, and assess what you can reasonably afford on your income.
Divorce is difficult, even under the best of circumstances, but adding a disability into the equation creates a new level of difficulty. By answering these three questions in advance, your current divorce will begin on the path towards future freedom and financial security for you and your spouse.
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.
Aug 10, 2017

Divorce is painful; there is no question about that. It is a devastating shakeup of any life. The more painful it is, the more people want to know: “How long does it take to get over it?”

The answer to this question depends on several factors:

·      The length of the marriage

·      How close you were

·      Which spouse filed for divorce

·      Whether or not infidelity was involved

However, the length of time is ultimately up to you.

Divorce is an adjustment. You have to find a way to adapt to your new reality. Oftentimes, people want the pain to be gone quicker than the natural process allows, which could actually result in the process taking longer.

Here are some tips to help make the process work for you. Then you can hopefully move on, and find happiness in your new life faster.

Grieving Is Essential

To move on from any painful ending, you have to do the work. If you keep your emotions hidden or ignore the grief from any life change, it will only makes things worse in the long run. And more often than not, you will remain stuck.

Let yourself feel the pain. When you feel like crying, find a quiet place as soon as you can, and let the tears out. Every tear you shed is a release of emotion, and grief helps you slowly move forward as you let more and more out.

Take it one moment at a time. A huge change like divorce is incredibly difficult and painful. We are creatures of habit, and when something obliterates the life that we have become comfortable with, it creates a yearning for the life that we once knew. And that yearning makes adjusting to a new life much more difficult.

The only way to get through the whole process is to get yourself through each moment. One moment leads to another, and pretty soon, you will realize that you have made it through days, then weeks, then months. Your stamina and your ability to adapt to your new life will increase during each moment. Then one day, you will realize that it hurts less, and that hope has returned to your life. You will have the ability to be happy again.

Do not forget to remind yourself that a relationship takes two people, so any divorce is not the sole fault of one person. Since pain gives your viewpoint tunnel-vision, we tend to forget that there are two people involved, and nobody is perfect.

Ask for Help

Talk to friends about what you are going through. They can help you move through your grief by validating your pain, helping you find a healthy perspective, and taking your mind off things.

See a counselor or therapist. They are trained to help you find healthy coping mechanisms, which are the most valuable takeaways of therapy. They can also help make sure that you do not fall into depression.

Seek advice from a Divorce Coach who has worked with all kinds of divorce situations. They can help you avoid disastrous situations, save money, and find the best ways to heal. As an objective observer, your Divorce Coach will be able to validate you because they specialize in what you are going through.

Find an Escape

This advice does not include doing anything careless or reckless, but it will help you to take a break from your grief every once in a while. Your life cannot be all about your divorce. While you should not let a break parlay into long-term avoidance, it can be a good way to adapt to your post-divorce life.

Remember, it is good to take your mind off of your divorce, and a break can help you get through each moment as you build your stamina in your newly single life.

Here are some ways to temporarily escape your divorce:

  • Going to dinner with friends is a simple way to get your mind off your divorce.
  • Meditation has been proven to keep your brain in a positive state.
  • Go on a short vacation, by yourself or with friends. It is a good way to hit the restart button.
  • Hobbies and interests will be hard to maintain, but if you can, try to keep up with them. They are healthy ways to give your brain a break.
  • Exercise raises the endorphins and makes you feel better about yourself. This tactic makes it easier to stick with healthy coping mechanisms that a therapist and/or Divorce Coach will teach you. It leads to a higher sense of self-worth, which will also help speed up your recovery from divorce.

It is understandable that you would want to know a timeline: When will the pain caused by your divorce stop? However, it is not easy to gain the knowledge about how long it takes to get over a divorce. But if you do the work, stay in a healthy place, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will find yourself in a better mood before you know it.

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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Aug 10, 2017
Sometimes in divorce, it feels like one spouse is dragging their feet and the divorce is taking too long. Your spouse may be causing delays: rescheduling meetings or court appearances, requesting an extension, or taking a long time to give you information that you need. In some cases, it may be your spouse’s attorney that is slowing down the process, either as a deliberate strategy or just out of incompetence. You may feel helpless in the face of these delays.
How can you speed things up?
There is no silver bullet for these issues. Every locale has its own rules and procedures, so you’ll have to check with your attorney to see if the options below will work for your situation. Be aware that it’s important to document everything. Document every email and phone call, every rescheduled meeting, and every time you follow up on something and do not receive a reply. If you ultimately go before a judge, you can bolster your case by showing that your spouse or their attorney were causing delays.
There are four options that may help you to speed up your divorce:
1) A motion to compel
In broad terms, a motion to compel is when the court sets a date for your spouse to reply to a specific request or to provide documentation that you have asked for. If they missed that date, they can be held in contempt of court. Often the penalty will be a fine, but there are other consequences that can follow. For example, the court may place an evidentiary restriction that limits the evidence that your spouse can provide for their case. The most extreme penalty is jail time. If you’re waiting on a specific request, see if a motion to compel is an option for your situation.
2) Settlement conference in front of a judge
Although it’s often preferable to avoid going to court, there are times when it can be beneficial. A settlement conference will allow you to meet the judge, test out a few arguments with them and get a sense of how the case would go if you end up resolving it in front of the judge. A settlement conference can be good motivation for your spouse to try to look as good as possible, so they will often address any outstanding requests shortly before the settlement conference so they don’t look like they’ve been ignoring you.
3) Subpoena a third party
In some cases, you need information that is held by a third party. As an example, let us say that your spouse has worked for a particularly employer and has a retirement plan at Fidelity. You need information about their retirement plan, but your spouse is taking forever to get that information to you. In this case, your attorney may be able to subpoena Fidelity to get those records. There are some legal technicalities, so check with your lawyer if it will be an option to get information that your spouse is not providing willingly.
4) Default judgment
If your spouse has repeatedly been missing deadlines, you may have the option of asking for a default judgment. This means that if your spouse fails to respond for a certain period of time, the court can issue a judgment of whatever you ask for (within reason). The non-responsive spouse’s side will not be considered. It can take a long time for a default judgment to happen, and there are restrictions in place to protect your spouse, but it’s worth looking into if there hasn’t been movement on your case.
When it comes to divorce, there is no easy solution. Unfortunately, some things in divorce just take time. It can take 3-6 months between court appearances in some places, particularly if the courts are backed up. However, if your spouse or their lawyer is actively slowing down this process, and you have documentation, bring these options up with your attorney. You may be able to force the process to move forward.
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.
Aug 8, 2017


What happens when you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding your divorce settlement? While this scenario does not occur in every case, there are certain circumstances that make negotiating a settlementimpossible. One spouse may more stubbornly hold to their opinions, or outside views could influence their willingness to negotiate crucial items from the marriage. When this situation happens, a trial is an inevitable way to solve the conflict.

Before you head to trial, there is a lot of advice surrounding what you should do, how you should act, and what you may experience next.

However, there are definitely a few things you need to think through before allowing your case to go to trial before a judge. What specifics do you need to consider before you head to trial?

A trial is full of risk.

Unlike the other methods of divorce, going to trial leaves your entire settlement up in the air, which puts you and your spouse at the mercy of a judge—with no easily predictable outcome.

Litigation takes away some of the control that you experience from more amicable methods, such as dividing property, assets, and other marital items. Settlements can be decided prior to a trial, which gives you the utmost control over what happens with your finances, your marital home, and the custody of your children.

During a trial, this degree of control is stripped away and handed to a judge, who has the ability to make any decision that he or she chooses. Even if you and your attorney feel that the issues surrounding assets and custody are clear-cut, a judge could make an unforeseen decision.

Laws are in place to safeguard all parties involved in a divorce case, and judges are supposed to remain neutral and objective, while listening to the facts and details of the case. However, the end result still remains uncertain, compared to other methods of divorce.

A trial can put significant strain on your finances.

Divorce is hardly ever an inexpensive process, but heading to trial has the potential to add thousands of dollars onto your final bill. Paying an attorney for their time spent preparing a case, their hours spent in court, court-filing fees, and other items can take a serious toll on your overall finances and rack up an exorbitant bill.

The more items you can settle with your spouse prior to heading to trial, the better your bottom line will be when the divorce is finalized. In advance, consider which items are your biggest priorities. They may include heirloom furniture, sentimental items, or valuable pieces of property.

In order to avoid wasting extensive amounts of expensive time that your attorney can bill you for, knickknacks and other items of inconsequential value should be decided on prior to trial.

The best idea is to attempt to keep the trial focused on the bigger items that you and your spouse cannot agree upon, such as your marital home, retirement accounts, finances, alimony payments, or custody issues.

Keep in mind that you can make a settlement at any time, even during the final moments in court. If your spouse becomes willing to negotiate, this last-minute endeavor could help save you significant amounts of money on the day of your trial.

A trial requires lots of time and preparation.

Make sure that you understand everything your attorney presents to you. You will be asked to review numerous documents, including your filing paperwork, your bills, and your trial strategy.

To achieve overall success in trial, it is critical to keep yourself informed and familiar with the evidence, witnesses, and testimony that you will be required to provide in court. This preparation is a time-consuming endeavor, but you should consider all of the ways in which you may need to prepare yourself prior to trial. Consider practicing with your attorney, and regularly reviewing the list of potential questions they will ask.

Self-representation requires far more preparation and a greater time commitment when things head to trial—even more so than a typical trial that would have an attorney at your disposal. This preparation is even more pertinent if you will be representing yourself. In this situation, you will need to know the local rules, fill out the required paperwork, and familiarize yourself with the proper procedures for introducing witnesses or evidence into the trial.

You may also be up against a well-prepared, experienced attorney, who will not cut you any slack due to your own inexperience.

However, while representing yourself, you can significantly save on the overall cost of divorce.

Making the Final Decision

Going to trial to settle the final details of your divorce can certainly be a nerve-wracking experience. Make sure that you understand each aspect of a trial (including the potential outcomes) prior to making the decision to pursue this avenue. A lack of information can lead to uncertain outcomes, as well as a greater commitment of your finances and time.

While some situations make avoiding a trial impossible, remember to factor in your ability to settle until the end of your actual day in court.

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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Aug 8, 2017
"Many times people oversimplify what’s needed before they put the house on the market. There are all these little things that ultimately get caught by home inspection that will later turn into a negotiation that very rarely favors the seller. What I advise people to do is get a pre-inspection and have the home looked at by an inspector.” - Max Townsend
In this episode we interview Max Townsend, a licensed real estate agent in Texas. Max shares great details about how to sell your home during divorce, and he provides some key tips for moving on and getting a new place after divorce. Max covered a lot of ground we’ve never discussed before on the show — and some great advice most people don’t know about!
You’ll definitely want to listen to this episode. 
To learn more about Max Townsend, check out his great site at Be sure to sign up for his great newsletter! (Seriously — it’s great!)
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.
Aug 3, 2017

This was originally published on Divorce And Your Money here.

Hiring an attorney can be cost-prohibitive for individuals who are in the process of seeking a divorce. However, many people still find it to be too intimidating to tackle the finalization of their divorce through the court system on their own—without legal assistance or guidance.

In lieu of placing a divorce attorney on retainer, some couples are now more interested in hiring a divorce paralegal to assist them. These professionals can help you fill out and file the correct forms, and they offer several different services at a reduced rate, compared to an attorney.

How do you know if hiring a divorce paralegal could be the right option for you? To get a thorough understanding of what they can offer, consider the answers to these three questions:

What is a divorce paralegal?

A divorce paralegal is typically an assistant to an attorney. Some of them are directly overseen by a divorce attorney within the same office. Others may work independently, based on their personal experience, education, or training.

Keep in mind that a paralegal does not have the right or ability to offer legal counsel throughout the process. That job function is exclusively performed by attorneys, so you may want to consider keeping an attorney on your team of professionals if you feel you will need legal advice. A paralegal also cannot represent you in court if your divorce is headed to trial.

The right divorce paralegal should be able to help you proofread and prepare any necessary forms. They are typically experienced and well-versed in knowing which forms are necessary, and where they need to be filed, based on local rules and regulations. If you feel you may struggle in this area while trying to handle your divorce on your own, a paralegal may be able to provide the correct level of support for you.

What should you look for in a divorce paralegal?

First and foremost, consider the obvious attributes of a potential divorce paralegal. You will be spending quite a bit of time with this professional, so make sure that you can work with their personality and attitude.

Evaluate their customer service skills, their responsiveness to your phone calls and emails, and their commitment to knowing the details surrounding your unique situation. You also do not want to underestimate the importance of cleanliness in their office space, as well as the friendliness of their reception staff and other coworkers.

From here, you should seek out professionals who maintain an official certification from a well-accredited program or association. Examples of highly recognized programs include those endorsed by the American Bar Association (ABA) or the National Association of Legal Assistants. They may also be licensed or registered within their field, depending on your state’s rules and regulations.

You will want to hire someone who specializes as a divorce paralegal or in other family law matters, instead of someone who has experience in a vast array of areas. This tactic ensures that their knowledge and training is more finely tuned than it might otherwise be. When selecting the proper divorce paralegal, referrals from family members and friends who have utilized their services for their own divorce can also be of value.

When should you use a divorce paralegal?

A divorce paralegal is just one option among many for finalizing your divorce. Therefore, how do you know if your situation will allow for this type of divorce? If you and your spouse are going to have a fairly simple divorce process, a paralegal may be able to provide a sufficient level of support for you—with just a little more assistance than you would have had with a do-it-yourself divorce. This type of divorce is best for individuals who have no kids, little to no property, and few financial obligations that need to be split between spouses.

Hiring a divorce paralegal is a good compromise; it is in between a do-it-yourself divorce and hiring an attorney. It can reduce some costs on the final bill, especially compared to hiring an attorney. Keep in mind that these savings are available because divorce paralegals provide a low level of assistance and no legal advice, in comparison to an attorney.

Choosing the Right Divorce Professional

Because each divorce is prompted by unique circumstances and individuals, it is impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all method for finalizing a divorce. Each professional and approach has some benefits, depending on the situation. A divorce paralegal is a great way to save money on a potentially expensive undertaking—especially for couples who can remain relatively amicable, and need only a simple divorce with few assets to divide between the two.

Ensure that you are hiring a properly credentialed professional within the field. Having the right professionals on your team is crucial to the overall success of your divorce, as well as your financial future. With the right research and guidance, a divorce paralegal could be a great addition to your divorce team.

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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Aug 3, 2017
It’s difficult to predict the outcome of divorce. However, there’s one statement that applies almost universally: most people have more options for their settlement than they realize. There are ways to structure a settlement that most people don’t think about, particularly when you are settling out of court.
One option that many people don’t consider is doing a lump sum payment for spousal support or child support. Spousal support is often done as a monthly payment over a certain period of time. However, you could do one large payment, or a few large payments, instead.
In some cases, this won’t be an option, because the spouse who is paying support needs to have multiple years’ worth of support in their savings. However, when it is a possibility, it is worth considering.  
One of the biggest benefits in paying or receiving a lump sum payment is that you are done dealing with your ex-spouse, with the exception of child custody. It can be a big burden lifted. If you will be receiving spousal support, you don’t have to worry about whether they are going to make their payment every month. If you will be paying spousal support, it can bring up a lot of emotions every month when you write that check.
When you do a lump sum payment, there are different tax considerations. For monthly spousal support or child support, the person who is paying support gets a tax deduction for that amount, and the other spouse receives it as taxable income. However, with a lump sum payment, there is no tax deduction, so the person who is paying the support pays the taxes.
A lump sum payment will be a smaller amount than the total monthly payments would be. For example, if you were to receive $10,000 a year for ten years, you would receive a total of $100,000. However, a lump sum payment might be a check for only $70,000. Receiving $70,000 today is the same as receiving $100,000 over ten years. If you’re interested in why this is, you can look into present value calculations. It’s a well-accepted mathematical formula that takes into account the interest that you would receive over time. Therefore, with a lump sum you aren’t paying (or receiving) less money, it’s just a question of timing.
To decide whether a lump sum will be right for you, you need to know yourself. If you will be paying spousal support, will you be bitter every month when you pay that money? Some people don’t mind it very much, but others have a very negative reaction to every spousal support payment. If you will be receiving spousal support, are you able to manage your money so that you can make that money last? Are you able to stick to a financial plan? Getting that much money up front is almost like winning the lottery – and 70% of lottery winners go bankrupt within five years. It’s very tempting to spend money when you have a large amount in the bank.
Another thing to consider is how much you trust your ex-spouse. Do you trust that your ex-spouse will make their payments on time? If they start missing payments, you may have to get the courts involved. Your ex-spouse may fall on hard times themselves, like losing their job. Conversely, if you are paying child support in a lump sum, can you trust your ex-spouse to manage their money? If the money runs out, you will still want your children to be provided for.
Paying spousal support in a lump sum can solve some financial complexities, so it’s something to consider as you work out your divorce settlement.  
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.
Aug 2, 2017

Going through a divorce is certainly not the end of the world. In fact, it is the beginning of a brand-new life. Throwing a divorce party gives you the ability to cleanse yourself of your past relationship and start anew. If you cannot seem to get started with the party planning, consider these unique ideas for hosting the greatest divorce get-together you can imagine.


Let the Good Times Roll

Are you the type of person that loves great music and having a good time? Based on 80’s rock ’n’ roll and hair metal, this divorce party idea is great for people of all ages.

If you are in the mood for a creative DIY event, consider going to your local thrift store and buying LPs. You can have your guests customize different LP labels about things they remember about your past relationships and turn them into titles for songs or albums.

The best part about a rock ’n’ roll themed party is that you can play all of the quintessential breakup songs from the 80s, which helps add to the party atmosphere.

You can also serve delicious beverages that everyone loves, but create different names for the drinks. A few examples include: Gin & Toxic (gin & tonic), Bum & Coke (rum & Coke), and Divorcetini (Martini).


Backyard Bonfire

Hosting a backyard bonfire can be both a great time with family and friends and a ritual to help you begin your new life. Aside from being able to serve crowd favorites (such as sausages, hamburgers, chicken, and beer), you can easily set up a bonfire in your backyard or at a nearby park or beach.

At the bonfire station, have a variety of different pieces of memorabilia from your relationship. You and your friends will be able to burn all of the items you have selected to start the healing process. Whether it includes photographs, old clothes, or keepsakes, it is the perfect way to feel rewarded and cleansed.

The best part: At the end of the night, you can finish the party off with s’mores. You can even get personalized chocolate-bar wrappers related to divorce with sayings such as, “Now That I’m Divorced, I Want to Have S’more Fun.”


Divorce Funeral

Funerals are a remarkable way to get closure. With a divorce funeral, you can take a new approach to the traditionally heartbreaking event. Then you can celebrate the death of your marriage and the rebirth of yourself as a newly single person.

A great way to decorate for a divorce funeral is setting up an altar with photos and memories of you and your ex. To light and reflect on your relationship, you can even add votive candles around the photos for your friends and family. But remember, it does not have to be a sad event.

Order a customized coffin cake, and place your wedding ring inside it, symbolizing the death of your married life. The best part about a divorce funeral is that it is incredibly easy to set up because you can take advantage of Halloween decorations, which are available at almost any party store.


Online Dating Party

Now that your married life is over, are you ready to get back on the market? If so, why not try online dating? It is an incredibly fun way to encourage yourself to find other interesting singles in your area.

You can print out a variety of different online dating profile forms, and hand them out to family and friends. Have them fill out the dating profiles, based on what they think you would be looking for in a new partner. You might even find that some of the content would be useful for setting up an actual profile.

Try basing the party on a specific dating website, such as Plenty of Fish or For Plenty of Fish, you can serve different fish-themed snacks and use orange decorations. works perfectly with blue-themed beverages and snacks.



Throwing a great divorce party is easier than you could imagine, especially if you are in the mood for having some fun. It is a wonderful way for you to let go of the past, and it also gives your friends and family members a way to come to terms with the divorce.

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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Aug 1, 2017
“When your feelings get big — whether they’re sad, or grief or anger or helplessness — slow down and breathe. Really take a moment. If we respond when we’re feeling really emotional, it may not be the real twist that we wanted to make in the long run. It might feel really good in that moment, but it might not be so helpful in the bigger picture.” — Dr. Robbin Rockett
In the middle of divorce, the range of emotions can feel overwhelming. In this episode, we interview Dr. Robbin Rockett, a clinical psychologist who experienced divorce. She discusses how to find a support group, why you need a therapist and ways to take care of yourself during the divorce process.
You’re going to want to listen to this episode more than once!
Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at 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.