Lee Block is the premiere expert on divorce. She launched ‘The Post Divorce' Chronicles and is a national divorce coach. Lee has insight into what women especially need to know about finances when it comes to the end of a marriage.
When given the chance to interview Lee, I jumped all over it. We all know that divorce rates are outrageously high, and often times women are left in the dust. Women, don't let this happen to you. If a divorce seems inevitable with your marriage, here's some things to consider.
1. What are some of the common items that most women under estimate when faced with divorce?
The most common is the cost of living! Although women are running the financial households more often, living as a single parent and being faced with all the bills when you were a stay at home mom or even a part time employee is much different than when you are married. So many things must be taken into account with children, that it can be a bit overwhelming and you can always feel like you are living below the curve.
I also think that women just underestimate how overwhelming it can be to be single again. Not only is every responsibility yours now, but you also have to factor in the loneliness.
2. What are some ways that couples can protect themselves if a divorce is imminent?
Get your financial house in order. Pay off all debt and stop spending. Often when a couple realizes they are getting a divorce, one or both start to hide funds and spend like crazy. This doesn’t benefit anyone. Divorce is expensive the more you fight and argue, so try to work it out so that there is something in the end to split.
Look at the split up as the ending of a business relationship when it comes to the finances. It is all black and white when it comes to money…a balance sheet…and if you can keep your emotions out of the asset splitting it will go much smoother.
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3. What should a woman look for in hiring a divorce attorney?
When hiring a divorce attorney, be sure that you have a good rapport with them and that you are comfortable with them. It is important to know that they are on your side and also have enough time for your case. The busier they are, the less time they will have for you and the best attorney is not always the best attorney for you. Also, be clear about what is important to you before seeing an attorney, so you can ask the right questions to see if that attorney is the right one for you. Do not be afraid to speak your mind and don’t hire someone you aren’t 100% sure of. You can speak to as many attorneys as you want and if you aren’t happy with the job you are getting for the money you are paying, speak up! Remember, they work for you!!
4. Financially speaking, what do women need to start thinking about post-divorce?
Job skills and where to find a job that will match what they need financially to run the house and also fit into the schedule they need to set regarding their children. This isn’t easy. Also, if they were stay at home, what skills they have that can be turned into a paying job.
Another thing they need to think about is budgeting and cost of living. It is crucial that they budget and stick within that budget, as well as know how much it is going to cost them to live. Research rental prices, keep a log of how much they spend now for everything from groceries and utilities to dry cleaning and see where they can reduce.
5. What should women know about splitting their home?
When it comes to splitting the home, it is important to remember it is an asset. It might have to be sold. You can’t be emotional about the house and it’s contents. Get it appraised and know the value of the home and the contents. Decide what is important to you, because for everything you keep within the home or the home itself, you will have to give back equally in either other assets or cash.
Make an inventory of everything in the house and then decide what you want and what you don’t want. If it is important to you to keep the home, be sure you can afford the mortgage and taxes and insurance on it! Those things will be your responsibility!!
6. Any other tips for women and divorce?
Financially, a divorce is just like ending a business relationship. If you keep it that way without the emotions coming in, then it will cost less and you will end up with more in your pocket than the attorneys. The more you fight the more it costs so pick your battles wisely.
Also, realize that you will never have as much after divorce as you did married. It is just a fact, for both parties. It has been said that if both parties walk away feeling like they got the short end of the stick, then it was a successful split of the assets. Keep in mind that everyone suffers financially from a divorce!