As you navigate a divorce, your financial situation can be one of the most important elements to understand. With the right strategies and guidance, you may be able to help control the setbacks that many people experience during a divorce. Regardless of what your current financial standing is, your post-divorce life should start with identifying all of your personal assets and searching for any potentially hidden assets. These details include everything from loans in your name to investments held in both spouses’ names. By doing so, you’ll be better able to claim the finances that are yours (separate property) while divvying up the ones you share (marital property). From there, you can start the process of organizing your financial life.
Navigating a divorce is rarely simple, and it can be expensive. Not only do you need to afford your new lifestyle without your spouse, but you also need to pay for the divorce process itself. In fact, the average cost of a divorce is $15,000 for each person, which includes court fees, attorney fees, and taxes, among other expenses. Furthermore, the costs continue even after the divorce is final. People typically need their income to increase by 30% after a divorce to support their standard of living. For people divorcing who are 50 years and older, the change can be even more drastic, with wealth often decreasing by 50%. From splitting bank accounts to identifying your net worth, how well you manage your money plays an important role in setting up your new life stage. Here are some ways to help you address money issues during a divorce.
Identifying Ownership: You should have started the divorce process by listing out which assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. These details come back into play when you’re addressing your money. You’ll need to clearly know what you own versus what you share, and from there, you can divide them up accordingly.
Create Your Net-Worth Statement: By knowing what assets you own personally and jointly, you will begin to create a picture of your financial worth. You’ll need to capture these details in a net-worth statement that subtracts your liabilities from your assets. Keep in mind that this statement reflects where you are in your financial life today, not tomorrow. So, as you unwind your finances, focus on actions that move you forward with a stable foundation.
Separate Your Finances: Next, you need to go through the process of separating your money. Remember, assets that you had before your marriage remain yours after a divorce, which includes anything you may have bought with an inheritance. Here are some key finances to address:
- Bank Accounts: Separate any joint accounts you share. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to open up a new bank account in your name only.
- Credit Cards/Loans: List every credit card and loan you and your spouse have. From there, identify what designates you as a co-owner of the debt, or simply as an authorized user, and take steps to remove yourself from any joint relationship.
Untangling Your Investments: While you and your spouse were married, you may have built part of your financial life together through investments. Those assets contribute to your net worth, what you each own separately and together, and what investments you need to split. A variety of details can affect how you split your investments. Here are some questions to consider.
To learn more about how to simplify the financial complexities of a divorce, please download “Navigating Divorce”.
In addition, if you are truly serious about organizing your financial and investment priorities given this life change you are going through, please click on the “Learn More” button to see how we approach financial planning and wealth management at Palm Capital Management based in Calabasas, California. We can work with you in-person or remotely, whichever you prefer.