Nothing causes more apprehension than the fear of the unknown. And there is the kicked in the gut feeling when we under estimate a situation. Divorce is like that on both accounts.
Emotionally, divorce is hard enough. But that’s not all that is difficult. For the most part, divorce involves dealing with issues–many times in not the best frame of mind–that are foreign. And with the average divorce lasting a year, many people enter the process unprepared for the divorce marathon.
Whether you’re a working or stay at home mom, you already have a full time job. Save time, money and frustration by being informed of divorce pitfalls in advance. And where there are children are involved, a divorce settlement, like marriage, is a lifetime commitment. The decisions you make now will affect your children for many years to come.
In this second installment of a four part series, The Big Kaboom shares some insights into the many facets of divorce, according to the stage of your process. Whether you are Thinking About Divorce, Moving Forward With Divorce or Recently Divorced, there are some important factors that you may not have taken into consideration. The upcoming posts in the series will delve deeper into some of these issues.
Thinking About Divorce
- Child Support. The amount of child support awarded is in accordance with Florida statutes, which take into account the net income of the parents and the number of children. Also factored is the financial ability of the parents to pay the determined amount of child support. There are many child support calculators available on the Internet.
- Once the need of one spouse for support and the ability of the other spouse to pay are determined, many factors are considered in the final award. Pay no mind to what your friends and family tell you about “who got what in their divorce”. Alimony calculations (negotiations) can be difficult. Forget the alimony calculators found in the internet.
- Financial Awareness. During the divorce process, you will need access to financial documents and information. Do you know where these are? If you lack this information, you will be at a disadvantage in understanding your potential, future financial situation.
- The Process. The process can be long and there is more than one way to get divorced. Educate yourself on the process and the alternatives.
Moving Forward with Divorce
- Selecting Divorce Professional. Attorneys, mediators, financial advisors; they all work for you. Select providers that match your personality, objectives and pocketbook. Just because an attorney “was great for a friend”, does not mean that the same person will work for you. No two divorces cases are exactly the same.
- Staying in the Home. The marital home belongs to both spouses. The misconception is that leaving the house is a “bad thing” to do. Assuming there is no issue of abuse, in general, the simple answers are: 1) No one must leave the house; and 2) No one loses their claim to the property, if they do leave. Still this is a consideration for you and your spouse, especially if there are minor children.
- What to Keep and Give Away. What is obtained during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses—it’s marital property. So, it’s only natural that when a couple gets divorced these “things” need to be equally split between them. This is equitable distribution. Aside from alimony and child support, no other divorce matter causes more anxiety and confusion. Decide early on what’s important for you to keep and the financial ramifications. For a sample equitable distribution worksheet, click here.
- Focus on the End Goal. The average divorce lasts a year, which means yours could take longer. With any long process, it’s easy to lose focus and react to things. Early on in the process, determine your goals and the strategy. Forget what your husband does or says and what people tell you. Sooner or later you will be divorced, and you will live with your actions and the outcomes for the rest of your life. And if you have minor children, you future ex-husband will be around for years to come. It’s your divorce; stay on task.
- Asset Separation. Property, vehicles, IRAs, pension funds, bank accounts–the list can be long–get these separated and titled correctly as soon as possible.
- If you were covered by your spouse’s medical plan, now you need your own. With no spouse to support you in times of prolonged illness, consider long-term insurance. What about life insurance for you in the benefit of your children?
- Change of Beneficiaries. Imagine if you pass and the proceeds from your IRA or a life insurance policy go to your ex-spouse and not your children or some other individual you intended? Naming a beneficiary also helps to keep your assets out of probate when you pass away.
- Trust/Will. As a married couple, you and your former spouse may have had a revocable living trust and/or will in place. Regardless, after a divorce, these documents take on an even bigger sense of urgency. Any single person with assets titled in their sole name should consider a trust. The two main reasons are: 1) To keep you and your assets out of a court-supervised guardianship; and 2) Allow your beneficiaries to avoid the costs and hassles of probate.
About The Big Kaboom
We take the mystery out of divorce by providing answers and support with real people and trusted referrals to many types of professionals, including attorneys. We’re not a law firm nor do we provide legal advice, but we know first-hand how the business of divorce works. As a unique, independent, unbiased and experienced service provider, we save clients time and money while reducing the anxiety and frustration so often associated with divorce. For more information about The Big Kaboom, please visit www.thebigkaboom.com or call 305.908.1171.
The Big Kaboom and Mommy Mafia have teamed up to create a series of posts to help shed light on some of the most important aspects of divorce, including: child support, custody, visitation and alimony. In the first post of the series, a Mafia Mom bravely shared her personal divorce story and the lessons of divorce learned along the way. Have a question about divorce? Or is there a topic surrounding divorce that you would like to see talked about on a future post? Feel Free to leave a comment below.
Divorce is an all encompassing life changing event that you never feel prepared for. Good idea to try to be as prepared and work through all the phases as best you can. And above all, surround yourself with good loving supportive friends and family.