Tips for Navigating Your New Financial Future

No one walks down the aisle anticipating a future divorce, yet divorce is a common occurrence in the United States. Whether you are gearing up to file a petition for divorce, are in the raw and overwhelming trenches of the divorce process, or are signing the settlement agreement, you may find yourself asking, “What’s next for me and my children?” While no divorce is without its own unique obstacles, the following steps can help you enter the next chapter of your life with confidence.

Step #1 – Create a plan

You’ve made it. After months of fighting and negotiating over endless details related to child custody arrangements and financial matters, you have finally signed your settlement agreement. While your first instinct may be to burn the settlement document and avoid reliving the pain that brought you to these terms, it’s crucial to create a plan to complete the action items outlined in your agreement. The following are common post-divorce items you may need to work through:

  • Dividing financial assets and retitling property
  • Closing joint liabilities and refinancing debt
  • Removing personal property from the marital residence
  • Scheduling alimony and/or child support payments
  • Updating beneficiary designations
  • Changing your legal name

Step #2 – Find your new team

Whether you were the sole financial decision-maker in your marriage, had zero involvement with the finances or fall somewhere in between, you likely had a team of professionals supporting your financial decision-making process. If these professionals worked more closely with your ex-spouse, it may be wise to hire a new team of trusted advisors to help you navigate the post-divorce transition. A team solely focused on your objectives can help you avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary stress. While not every family requires the assistance of all the professionals listed below, you should consider whether their services are necessary given your particular situation.

  • Financial planner who specializes in divorce
  • Estate planning attorney
  • CPA
  • Property and casualty insurance agent
  • Health insurance agent

Step #3 – Reset your family’s financial life

Regardless of how much you resist, divorce changes everything. While it’s easy to hope that the grieving process will end once you sign the final settlement agreement, the emotional toll of divorce is something you will likely carry into the next chapter of life.

Two important questions you may be asking yourself are, “What do I do now?” and “What do I want the future to look like for my children and me?”

As you ponder these questions, press the reset button on your financial life. Now is your chance to dream and decide upon your new goals for the future. Your financial roadmap will likely look different than it did when you were married, so take time to find your new normal. Don’t sacrifice your future financial independence by clinging on to your past financial life. Always remember, the future may look different, but it remains bright.

Finding new trusted advisors when you “don’t know what you don’t know” can be an overwhelming endeavor. Law Enforcement Financial Freedom is a specialty practice of Creative Planning and serves as a partner to clients experiencing a divorce. Each of our dedicated teams specializes in working with law enforcement professionals and includes an attorney, a CPA and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Guided by your settlement agreement, these experienced professionals work to develop a detailed, customized post-divorce action plan and support you every step of the way as you navigate this challenging life transition. For more information about how we can help guide you through the divorce process, or for any other financial matter, please schedule a call.

Marjorie serves as a Private Wealth Manager, working directly with her clients to create and maintain a customized financial plan addressing all aspects of a healthy financial life including investments, tax planning, risk management, retirement, employee benefits and estate planning.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.