By Robert Stitt
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, 38 percent of those married in 2014 are already divorced. While divorce is hard on all involved, studies show that, statistically, women come out of divorce worse off than men. This is especially true when looking at finances.
SUM180 is a financial planning service designed for women. According to Carla Dearing, the company’s CEO, “Studies reveal that in the first year after divorce, the wife’s standard of living may drop almost 27 percent, while the husband’s may increase by as much as 10 percent.”
Dearing notes that most women are more emotional in life, and they are even more so when it comes to divorce. As a result, they often rush into divorce, just wanting to get it over with. This leads to settlements that are not based upon what is best, but what is expedient. While many people try to go through divorce alone because of its personal nature, this only keeps them from good advice and valuable emotional outlets. Let a good friend or therapist in on your divorce and get your emotions out. This way, when you meet with the attorneys, you have a clear head.
One important thing to remember is that your married life likely went beyond the scope of your household finances. Don’t operate on the understanding that the only finances and goods are those in your home. By slowing down and thinking rationally instead of emotionally, you have the time to work through the list of financial data that may not be readily apparent. This includes locating all bank accounts, investment accounts, life insurance policies, properties, etc. A good place to start is by reviewing the last several years of tax returns. If you are not sure how to do this, your attorney can help. To save money, a financial planner is often far cheaper than an attorney during this stage of the process.
Just remember that the financial implications of your emotional decisions may be with you for decades. By taking the time to slow down and work out your emotions prior to the divorce proceedings, you can logically process information and make sound decisions based off of good financial data and not the desire to get things over with.