A divorce is one of the most frightening times of our lives. It’s easy to feel victimized as a court process gets set in motion that is confusing and threatening… and leaves us sleepless and doubting what we thought we knew. In the end there will be loss, that is certain; but how we approach that impending loss can leave us with more than just pain and memories. It is possible to grow and learn and become more than we were, more than we knew was possible. After many years of seeing clients go through this process and rejoicing with them when they face their new future and understanding when they can’t move on, here’s what I think makes a big difference in the outcome.
--Lean in, grab it, and don’t turn away from the uncomfortable. Learn all you can about your finances, assets and debts, good or bad. Learn it all. Be brave and take control of what will now be your own financial future.--
Our instincts tell us to avoid the uncomfortable and, in a divorce, the finances are often very uncomfortable. Be brave. Don’t run away from the financial information your divorce will involve. Grab it, learn it, know it and make it work for you in building a new future. Your finances are facts. Facts can be gathered and analyzed. Even when the facts bring you bad news (which is common in a divorce)—at least you know something now that must be considered when planning your future. Set time each day or each week to concentrate on a different portion of your finances and find out all you can about how each works, why it is what it is, and think about what you might want to do now.
Keep written records and notebooks of your assets, debts, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans and pensions—all of it. Know what is happening with each of your financial assets and with all of your debts. This will help you get a big picture of all that exists in your own financial world before you need you start making individual decisions. None of it will be a mystery. Instead, you will be in control. Create budgets for now and budgets for when the divorce is completed. Make short term and long term plans. This will help you set financial goals so you will know how to proceed when faced with options.
A divorce forces us to confront financial information at the most disorienting and stress filled time of our lives. As part of the divorce process,
it is tempting to shield ourselves and simply produce bank statements and financial documents with numbers for the family attorney and Court and leave it at that. But why be so reticent when you have the perfect opportunity to really learn the facts and start making decisions about those facts? A trusted financial adviser can help with planning and what you want to do short term and long term. If you do not have a financial adviser, you should interview a number of candidates after receiving referrals from friends and family—and see who you want to work with. You have the ability to regain the control you feel you lost when this whole ordeal started. Now, be brave, lean in, grab that knowledge and start making your own future.
*This message brought to you by your premiere Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyer, Jeanne M. Wilson.