Tag Archives: conscious uncoupling

Dealing With Money after Divorce

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People can sometimes get nasty during divorce, and you might see sides of your former partner’s personality that you never thought you’d have to deal with. A lot of that nastiness arises during discussions of money and the valuables you once owned together, things people sometimes feel possessive about during the divorce negotiations. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s never too early to analyze your investments and create a financial plan and budget for your future. But before you think about the future, you have to think about the past and protect any wealth you have already worked hard to acquire.

Here are a few facets of your financial situation that are important to think about as you move forward with your life:

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Bank Accounts: According to DailyFinance.com, one of the first things you should do once you are divorced is ensure that you have all your own bank accounts, whether that means opening up entirely new accounts or simply ensuring your existing accounts are in your name only. If you don’t have one already, getting a credit card in your own name should be considered paramount, especially to help you adjust in the short term. If you have an outstanding balance on a joint credit card that you are unable to pay off immediately, you can call the credit card company to tell them not to allow any future payments on the card.

Insurance: Married couples often receive insurance discounts, so it makes sense to combine contracts at first, but after divorce, things can get confusing. For your health insurance, under a COBRA plan, you have the right to coverage if you are legally separated, but not if you are divorced. Other insurance policies to examine include homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, car insurance, and life insurance.

Beneficiaries: Evaluate your named beneficiaries to make sure none of them are your ex-spouse or his or her family members. While it might not seem like an immediate concern, changing the beneficiaries on your 401(k) and your IRA is one of those tasks that often gets put on the back-burner during the chaos that is divorce paperwork and the emotional rollercoaster you’ll be riding.

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Safety: Having a safety account is always a good idea; especially during divorce proceedings. This isn’t a hidden, secret Swiss account that you can use when you run away, it’s simply an account you can add to and withdraw from without having to worry whether your former partner is partaking in what belongs to you.

Taxes: First, keep in mind that a 50/50 split in assets might not be 50/50 after taxes are evaluated. Speak with a tax professional to ensure you are getting a fair deal in the settlement, and remember, when tax season rolls around, you and your ex may still be on the same side for that particular challenge. Be sure to keep copies of everything related to major purchases and finances, even if you are not sure whether they still have anything to do with you. That way, when it’s tax time, you’ll have all of your bases covered should an issue arise.

Other Income: In addition to accounts that directly involve money you already have, consider the value of indirect sources of money—whether that involves income or anticipated savings. Some commonly overlooked concerns include insurance that was paid for ahead of time, tax refunds, and even frequent flyer points.

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Bills: On the flipside, you and your former spouse probably have several joint billing accounts that you pay into monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Look through your records for memberships, subscriptions, and even items that often are forgotten, like EZPass or your state’s toll payment provider. Some people prepay for items out of joint accounts before filing for divorce, while others may simply not worry about future liability, leaving the responsibility on you.

Divorce proceedings are often tedious, and losing that part of your life can be painful, but staying in charge of your financial future is a great way to create some security in your life. Protect yourself from unfortunate financial surprises by looking into what might seem like tiny details before they become big problems.

What Leads to Divorce?

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The most common cause of a marriage crumbling has got to be infidelity, correct?  Nope.  While cheating has caused many a marriage to dissolve, the following issues are responsible for even more mass destruction of the holiest of unions.

Rush, rush…

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Rushing into things

One of the primary reasons why divorce occurs is the simple fact that certain couples should never get married in the first place.  People often feel that they should just “go with the flow” once marriage in on the table.  Whether it’s because you’ve found the perfect new house to live in, your parents “really, really like” them, you’ve finally booked that wedding venue that’s impossible to obtain or you just think you’d produce really cute kids, you shouldn’t rush into marriage.  You need to be fully and fundamentally prepared to spend the rest of your lives together.  If something just doesn’t feel right, the odds are in favor that you will end up consulting with a divorce attorney at some point down the line.

I Can’t Live Without You

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Have you noticed that you all but lose the ability to do anything on your own once you enter into a serious relationship?  Beyond enjoying their company, do you need your partner with you at all times?  If this is the case, there is a probably a deeper issue at hand, which needs to be dealt with.  If this doesn’t get addressed, and you enter into marriage, then very hard times are indeed in store.  Either you will fall further down the rabbit hole and your personal identity will become more opaque and/or your partner will tire of your incessant clinginess.

New Kid in Town

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Going from ‘couple’ to ‘parents’ 

If you elect to produce a brood of your very own, there are some pitfalls that you could inadvertently (and easily) end up in.  The most detrimental thing that happens, quite a bit, is that married duos cease to be a “couple” anymore and fully transition into “parent only mode.”  Their identity is now solely that of “mother” and “father.”  Even if these newfound roles seem to be working out for a while, eventually a major roadblock pops up.  Guess what happens when the kids go off to college?  That’s right; mom and pop no longer have anyone to spend their days ‘parenting,’ and the couples now just stare blankly at each other, completely having forgotten what they ever had to discuss other than their kids.

I can see clearly now…

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Disparity in vision

When couples enter into marriage without discussing what their immediate, short and long term goals are, they can be headed for serious trouble.  Aside from major issues (which typically are addressed by even the most impetuous couples), which include having children, purchasing homes, etc., there are smaller topics that may seem too inconsequential to discuss before getting married, but then come back with a vengeance.  If your ideas of what constitute a vacation, a romantic evening, a relaxing day together differ or are conflicting, over time this can really wear on the relationship.  Sometimes it can seem as if your spouse has changed over time and that you no longer understand their wants/needs – but the truth is that these things were always just under the surface, and neither of you took the time (or were subconsciously scared) to confront them.

You’re As Cold As Ice

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The loss of intimacy

This can be tricky.  One day, everything is fine in the romance creation department, and then whoops…either one person says the wrong thing, the other exhibits a less than open attitude in the boudoir and then…BAM:  Ice Age, the Marriage.  Now an invisible wall goes up between partners and it can take some real effort to demolish/melt it.  The key is that women, usually, like to be romanced; to be made to feel special, desired and loved.  Men can be more physically oriented, and simply respond well to contact/touching.  If both partners aren’t getting what they need, then things can continue down a very negative path which ultimately leads to insurmountable distance.

Blame game

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Not taking responsibility for your happiness

If one person isn’t feeling blissful, they can take it out on their partner.  Certain times, the unhappy party will feel it’s their spouse’s responsibility to make the changes necessary to accommodate their woes and subsequently make them happy again.  Unfortunately, this hardly ever works out.  Each member of a couple should always be sensitive to their partner’s needs, but you are ultimately the only one in charge of your personal happiness.

Money money money…Mon-ey!

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Financial misunderstandings 

The ironic thing about couples that argue intensely over money is that they do not necessarily lack it.  The discrepancy is usually about how their money should be spent.  When each person brings a contrasting financial philosophy to the table (ie – ‘spend now’ versus ‘save for tomorrow’), a cornucopia of complications can arise.  These problems just become further exacerbated as the years go by.  Each person’s financial habits become more and more ingrained in their lives, thereby frustrating their partner exponentially.

You’re out of touch…we’re out of time

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The absence of physical contact

Aside from sexual healing, every couple needs to be intimate in the physical realm outside the bedroom.  The simplest morning kiss, hug or other embrace can set the tone for a lovely day.  Without this form of contact, a great emotional divide begins to set in.  At the end of the day, if you don’t want to touch your partner, there is a real crisis in connection which can very often lead to the big “D.”

Let It Go

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Holding on to bitterness

Some people have a very difficult time letting go of resentment after an argument or disagreement.  When this occurs, there is a cumulative effect, essentially creating a reservoir of negative feelings.  It only is a matter of time before the damn bursts, and a devastating outpouring of vitriol is unleashed.  Try to resolve disputes whenever possible, and then talk about your feelings, rationally, afterwards.  Otherwise, a one way ticket to divorce court could be in your near future.

-Joe Leone