By: Tess Worrell
Fear of financial ruin grips most people contemplating or going through divorce. How does a couple already fighting over too little money to cover the bills find a way to support two households on the income that isn’t supporting one? How does a stay-at-home parent find a job after years out of the workforce? Will the divorce process itself bankrupt the couple?
Traditionally, marriage created the primary economic security of society. Couples viewed marriage largely from an economic perspective. In our more romantic culture, couples often overlook the very real economic aspects of joining forces–and of separating them. Divorce is the primary indicator of poverty for women with children. Remarriage the primary route out of that poverty. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Couples can navigate the divorce process in a way that focuses on financial security for both. The key is planning.
In most divorce proceedings, couples discuss property division–debating who gets what. The focus for each becomes, “What do I need to take from this divorce so I will be OK?”
A better option–focus on property utilization. Individuals ask, “How can we use the assets we’ve compiled to create a secure future for both of us–and for our children?” Though emotions run high, when couples begin to work together with this end in mind–the fear of financial doom gives way to hope for the future. Steps for achieving include:
- Prepare a budget. Information is power. Most Americans have no idea where their money goes. Taking stock of every source of income and every expense gives people both a realistic view of how much they truly need and of where potential cuts can be made for the financial security of both.
- Create priorities. Do the parties value private school or bonding family vacations more highly? Does keeping the house offer needed security to the children or does the financial strain create insecurity? The Conciliation process enables clients to create a common core of financial priorities which then guides how the property can be used to achieve these.
- Get expert help. The Conciliation process includes meetings with a Divorce Financial Planner trained to help individuals get the most from their assets. With this insight, couples are prepared to make the strategic choices needed to ensure the entire family moves forward securely.
Divorce doesn’t have to mean financial ruin. With the right partners, couples can utilize what they already have to establish a sound foundation for the next stage of life.