Will I have enough money after my divorce?
Financial instability is one of the biggest fears that arise when facing a divorce. This is not surprising, given the very real financial impacts of divorce—particularly on women.
According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, women saw their household income fall by 41% following divorce or separation after 50, compared to a drop of just 23% in men.
While this level of financial impact can pose a significant threat, there are ways to help ensure your stability following a divorce.
Take it slow
Many people want to get divorced as quickly as possible. The average divorce is completed in a year, from the time a spouse files for divorce until the divorce is finalized. However, many people also report that they are in a major “fog” and are not able to think clearly during the divorce process. The combination of a quick divorce and a lack of clarity can be disastrous.
There is nothing wrong with slowing down this process. In fact, taking the time you need—whether that’s 12 months or two years—is essential so that you and your partner fully understand both the short and long-term ramifications of your divorce settlement.
Develop a support network
Divorce often causes emotional turmoil. In fact, one 2019 study found that those who have gone through divorces after age 50 report higher levels of depression than those who have faced the death of a spouse.
This turmoil can paralyze a person, making it even harder to make the best financial decisions during a divorce. It is important to have a strong support system—including a great attorney, a financial planner or accountant, and a smart and truthful friend—to help guide you through the decision-making process of your divorce.
Keep an eye on your goals
So much time and energy can be wasted on fighting over the “small stuff” in a divorce. I encourage my clients to envision their ideal life three years after the divorce—after all the dust has settled—and to consider what needs to happen to reach this vision.
Identifying concrete goals will give you a filter through which you can evaluate your decisions during the divorce process. When you know what it is you want to achieve, you can better allocate your time toward meeting your goals (and avoid spending time and energy on things that won’t help you do so).
Talk to a professional
While all these ideas are somewhat simple, they can have a tremendous positive impact on the outcome of your divorce.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like to discuss these matters with a professional, we offer a free 30-minute call to walk you through the guide and answer your questions.
Raymond James and its advisors do not provide legal advice. You should consult with an appropriate legal professional in regards to your specific situation.