Money is about the end of a marriage, but it’s also about finances.
If you’re considering a divorce or are in the middle of proceedings, we have tips for you from two experts. Lee Block is the premiere expert on divorce. She launched ‘The Post Divorce’ Chronicles and is a national divorce coach. Evanston-based Nancy Liebman recently wrote the book, “Get Your Fair Share: Controlling the Purse Strings of Your Divorce.”
1. You should know how much it will cost for you and your children to live. Include everything from mortgage and insurance to birthday parties and gifts. Break it down monthly so you know how much it costs for you to live every month.
2. Know that the child support and alimony will not cover every expense. Because you have a monthly budget, this will tell you if you need to supplement and by how much.
3. You need to be sure your children will be taken care of in case of an emergency, so some expenses that are necessary would be life insurance and medical insurance. Your ex will pay for the kids, but you still need it for you.
4. It is really important to budget out your months. Some months will be higher than others, for instance around the holidays. This will help you plan.
5. Learn how to take care of your bills, set up bank accounts, get credit cards and even get a good credit rating. You need to know how to do these things to survive and also to maintain independence.
6. Change your mindset. No one will financially take care of you anymore, but you!
7. Get life insurance. If your ex-spouse is paying alimony, you need to have life insurance on him, so if he dies, you will still get the maintenance. Otherwise that will disappear … and it’s really hard to do after the fact.
8. Try mediation. Mediation can save you both a lot of money. You have to be able to sit down in the same room as your spouse and talk, which is not something everyone can do.
9. Consider all your assets. Frequent flier miles, your cars, a boat, time share, rewards, paid vacation, sporting event season tickets, theater tickets—that all has value.
10. Ask to see the tax returns. If you think there have been misrepresentations from income taxes, talk to your lawyer about the Innocent Spouse Relief rules. These can protect you when a spouse incorrectly reports items on a jointly filed tax return.
11. If you say, “I do” again, get a prenuptial agreement. It’s very unromantic but marriage is a business as much as a romantic relationship and you need to be educated and informed. The idea is to empower people and to make them realize they can take control of their life and make decisions.