Do you know the number one thing I worried the most about when I realized I might be getting a divorce? MONEY
I was tied up in knots worrying about how I would make it financially if we divorced. My head pounded from the constant barrage of questions beating inside my head.
How was I going to be financially sound enough to provide a home for my son on my teacher’s salary? What if I couldn’t afford a home, a stable financial environment? What if the court didn’t find me financially sound enough to have custody?
The questions wouldn’t stop. I was terrified that I would lose my son because I didn’t make enough money or that I’d have to declare bankruptcy because of all the debt.
Let me rewind to when my life was turned upside down.
I had been married for 12 years and had an average yearly net income of $30,000. My husband had a great job. I was home on maternity leave with our newborn. We had just built a new house with a new barn for our horses. Car, truck, 4-wheeler, boat … the list goes on and on. We could handle these expenses. We both had jobs and would pay off the debt. We had a financial plan and so far it had worked.
Life was good until it wasn’t.
I won’t get into the details, but we had to divorce. There was no other option. My life was turned upside down and I had to figure out how to get rid of the debt and start over financially for my son.
We had a lot of debt and it was debt that would be divided between the two of us. That’s how it is in our state. You divide the assets and the debts. In our case, we had a lot of debt. I mentioned before we had just built a house and had dumped all of our savings into the accessories that went into living in that beautiful home. I certainly did not have many physical assets to offset the debt. My lawyer kept telling me to declare bankruptcy, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to pay my debt and move on. The question was – how? Heck, I didn’t even know how to pay for the lawyer.
Pretty bleak, right?
I thought so at the time, but my financial situation could have been much worse. I had a job, so I had an income. And I knew that both assets and liabilities were divided between us so I wouldn’t incur all the debt. And, even though we owed for the full value of the house, it was an asset that could be sold or negotiated into the divorce settlement.
My problem at that time was I wasn’t thinking rationally. I was in panic mode and there were no clear thoughts entering my mind at that point. Plus, I had a newborn that needed all of my attention and slept very little unless I was holding him. I was more than a little sleep deprived and still recovering from his delivery.
Anyway, I had a moment of clarity or divine intervention – lol. At that moment, I pulled myself together and realized I needed to get my act together or I would be paying off this marriage for the rest of my life.
I know this is overwhelming, but it is vital to your future. Therefore, you must begin to think in a rational manner about your current situation to prepare yourself for the upcoming divorce. If you’re sitting in a corner crying – Stop! If you cannot stop crying, come back to this section after you have composed yourself. Have I made you angry? Good! Now stop the “pity party” and become proactive. In other words, start moving forward. Move! The sooner you start thinking and stop reacting, the sooner you can make an educated decision about your future.
Knowledge is power. Therefore, you need to become knowledgeable about your assets and liabilities or debt. Begin to gather financial documentation and any other documentation which could potentially help your attorney. By analyzing long-term and short-term debt you can evaluate how “financially stable” you are. Once you have a clear picture of your finances, you will gain more confidence because this will allow you to determine a plan of action.
I could have had much more debt had I not been as organized and aware of my financial situation. My awareness allowed me to create a fair divorce settlement with my ex-husband. I did not go bankrupt; I re-established my good credit, and I now live in a wonderful neighborhood in a nice home. Perhaps that most important financial accomplishment was my financial independence from my husband.
The Possibility of Divorce
If you are still entertaining the possibility of divorce and hopefully receiving marriage counseling or considering it, become analytical, not emotional. Your lawyer must have certain information in order to represent you effectively.
Securing Your Financial Future
Securing your financial future will empower you. The only way to do this is to know what debt and what assets you have. Then you can think rationally. Many people don’t have a clear understanding of their financial situation. Some aren’t aware of the outstanding debt in their name. If you have no idea, now is the time to get educated. Don’t get caught in the middle of your divorce without the proper knowledge concerning your money. Thoroughly reviewing your finances will enable you to take the necessary actions to protect your assets.
Protect and Prepare for Your Future
I believe as soon as you suspect something is “off” in your marriage, act on your hunch. Unfortunately, “hunches” are often right. I hate to be the one to tell you, but it’s true. Even though your life may be falling apart, you need to decide to either let it fall on you or around you. What I mean is, take shelter in the knowledge that you are prepared for anything that comes your way
Financial Status Prior to Divorce
Financial status means what assets and liabilities you have. Assets are items of value; savings, investments, home, cars. A liability is your debt; how much money owed on your home and cars; credit cards; college loans.
Ignorance is not bliss. If you don’t handle the finances in your marriage, you need to take steps to determine where you stand financially. Even if you’re not certain of a divorce, you should have this knowledge. There are too many people that don’t know where they stand financially; even though many have a job and contribute their earnings to the family!
You are Entitled
I want you to believe that you deserve to know what is going on in your financial life. Money is necessary for survival. If you are going to be single, you must set yourself up to succeed after the divorce. In order to gain your financial “fair share” in the divorce, you must have accurate information regarding your assets and liabilities.
FREE Financial Empowerment Guide
If you are telling yourself, you have no clue about your marital finances, start with my FREE guide. It’s a great step to take in securing your financial future!