6 Financial Concerns for Women After Divorce

Starting over after a divorce can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to finances. Not only does a couple need to discuss how to detach their finances from one another during the divorce process, but they also need to start planning ahead for a self-sufficient financial future. Women in particular sometimes find themselves at a disadvantage if they had not been heavily involved in the financial decisions during the marriage. Just getting an understanding of your current financial position can be daunting. Any woman feeling the daunting prospect of divorce will find it helpful to break down the process by focusing on these important financial categories:

Asset Division

Believe it or not, a 50/50 asset split doesn’t always do the trick. The type of account can make a big difference when it comes to dividing investments. There’s a big difference between a regular investment account versus a retirement account (think taxes). Even dividing investment accounts requires scrutiny as the cost basis (purchase price) of the assets comes into play when they are sold in the future. Although they know the law, not all attorneys are financial savants. Be sure to hire a CDFA® (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) to help determine the best split and forecast the potential future impact.

Income

Often women have not been the primary breadwinners in the household or may not have been employed outside the home in many years. Don’t let this deter you if you are facing the decision to divorce. Your education and work experience, although potentially dated, is still valuable. Tune up your resume and network, network, network. Most divorcees find gainful employment through their social networks. Employers know that women are some of the hardest working employees as they are adept at multi-tasking and juggling competing priorities. Don’t underestimate how employable you might be and know that you can take control of your financial future.

Child Support and Alimony

Don’t get too hung up on these payments, as these are for limited terms. Make sure the ex-spouse is covering a fair share of raising the children and alimony while you might be sprucing up your job skills.

Debt

If the divorce settlement requires you to pay any liabilities accrued during the marriage, try to pay this off immediately with any liquid assets received. It’s better to start off your new life with a clean slate. Make sure there is no jointly held debt with your ex-spouse. You don’t want your credit record tied to your ex’s in any way.

Retirement Planning

Unfortunately, it’s common to see most of the household retirement savings built up in the husband’s name. Hopefully, this will be split in the divorce settlement. In the settlement you can ask your ex to make annual contributions to your Roth IRA. Then, once you are more established in your new job/career, try to increase your own 401(k) savings as much as possible.

Budget

Many divorcees have not lived within the budget constraints of a single income for some time. Nonetheless, there’s no time like the present to start. Create a statement of income and expenses to insure you’re living within your means which might be substantially different than when you were married. This might be one of the more difficult parts of the process, since it may require changes in spending habits and lifestyle. However, facing your new financial reality early can help mitigate any future issues that could arise from living outside your means.

It’s important to frame the situation as a total financial reset. Only this time, you create your own destiny. Whether you were the saver or the spender during the marriage, you now have full control over your financial future. Rely on your CDFA® and financial advisor to guide you along the path, and make the most of the change.

Have more questions? Contact Us

Missie Beach, CFP®, CDFA®
Senior Financial Advisor

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By Published On: March 8, 2023

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