(What Planning Steps You Need to Know)

By: Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®

Today, you get a glimpse inside the sick and twisted mind of Andrew Rosen. Yes, one week after writing a beautiful article about marriage, inspired by my good friend David Levy, I’m now addressing divorce.

(For those wondering, this blog isn’t in any way, shape, or form inspired by the beautiful newlyweds.) However, with divorce rates hovering in the 50% rate, I’d hate to ignore the unhappily married couples, as there are certainly unique planning circumstances they must address.

I’m not going to focus this article on getting divorced, but I do have a few critical pieces of advice which I’ll save for the end. What will get my attention here, however, will be those items needed to align your new found finances, especially as you approach and/or become divorced.

  1. Documentation & Organization is Key – If you’re going through a divorce, you’ll want to keep very good records of all your assets and debts. You should have copies of your divorce decree, and make sure you have solid accounting to assure a smooth division of assets.
  2. Update Accounts & Notify Appropriate Institutions – This is a big one. You may be moving, changing your name, and changing your beneficiaries. If you change your name, make sure you go to all the proper agencies (like Social Security) to notify them. Any piece of mail should be updated to your new address (i.e. bank statements, credit cards, work benefits, you name it). Don’t forget your kid’s schools and ex’s place of employment, as you may be entitled to benefits. Don’t forget about beneficiaries either; I’m certain you don’t want your ex receiving your assets, if something should happen to you.
  3. Remove Yourself from Accounts – What do I mean by this? Well, my wife and I are on most of our utility bills together. If something were to happen to us, or one of us moved out, the last thing I’d want is to be responsible for my ex’s ability to pay bills. They can hurt your credit and put you in a bad place financially, if you aren’t careful.
  4. Speaking of Credit – Since we are on the topic of credit, here is some advice if you’re a non-working spouse. Before getting divorced, apply for a credit card ASAP. I suggest this because when applying for a credit card, you usually can claim all the income in the marriage in the application process. However, if you’re divorced and have no real income to speak of, you’ll likely not qualify. Just because you may have one with your name on it today doesn’t mean that credit card is in your name or helping your credit what-so-ever. Many times, your spouse may be the card holder and you’re simply an authorized user. The difference may seem subtle, but it can make a huge difference in your ability to procure a credit card.
  5. Get a New Will – I’m not even sure I have to write anything more. GET A NEW WILL! I’m positive you don’t want your old will coming into play shall something happen to you. (Think if your ex was in charge of pulling the plug on you! Nuff said.)
  6. Assemble Your Team – There’s enough stress in a divorce to begin with, so why do it alone? You’ll be facing financial and tax planning issues, among all the other things to consider. This will be an integral moment in understanding your new found finances. From there, putting a plan in place to maximize your probability of success is something you don’t want to wait on, so start building that team.

Key Words of Advice

Being in the business I’m in, I’ve seen more divorces than you can imagine. I’ve seen close family and friends go through happy and sad divorces. I’ve seen people through every stage, and they’re never fun. But there are three key pieces of advice I’d like to share if you or someone close to you is going through a divorce.

  1. The winner is the attorney. You can argue, fight, scream, cry, you name it, but the attorney is the one who wins. The process is painful and unpleasant by its nature, so do your best to settle things quickly and with as little back and forth as possible.  Arguing over your favorite chair is never worth it.
  2. Remember, that person you may hate right now is still your child’s mother or father. Most likely, they’ll want to be in your kid’s lives as much as you’ll want to be in your kid’s lives. While you may hate this person, don’t let your kids know. It’s really hard to do, but do it for them, as they’re more important than your feelings.
  3. If you have younger children, try to stay in the same school district as your ex. I know this seems hard, and last thing you want is to see your ex all the time. However, I was told this from a friend years ago and have since given this advice to others who’ve all thanked me. You don’t want your kids to get older and see visits with you as a nuisance. At least if you live in the same district, your kids can come home from school and hang at your house just as easily with their friends as your ex-spouses.

Alright, that’s all I got. I hope this can help you or someone you care about. As always stay wealthy, healthy, and happy.

In his role as Financial Planner, Andrew forges lifelong relationships with clients. He coaches them through all stages of life and guides them to better achieve their life goals. Andrew loves helping others by spreading his knowledge on finance, investments, and the pursuit of happiness/fulfillment. He writes nationally recognized, weekly blog posts on these topics and is a regular contributor to Kiplinger. Andrew has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News & World Report, USA Today, CNBC, along with many other publications.

For more information or to book a consult with Andrew or the other firm partners, Kyle Hill and David Levy, click the link below.

Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®
Kyle Hill, CFP®
David Levy, CFP®

Financial planning and Investment advisory services offered through Diversified, LLC. Securities offered through Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, Member FINRA/SIPC. Headquartered at 80 State Street, Albany, NY 12207. Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments and Diversified, LLC are not affiliated companies.