It may or may not come as a surprise to you that a pension is frequently the most significant asset divided in a divorce. With that said, it's not a foregone conclusion that you'll have to give up a portion of your pension as part of your divorce settlement. In fact, I'm surprised by the number of cases I see in which the parties decide the pension owner will retain it in its entirety.
First, consider your overall financial picture. If you want to keep the pension and it's one of the more significant assets in your marital estate, you're likely going to be giving up other assets. What are you willing to give up in exchange for the pension?
To get a full financial picture, start by determining the value of the pension. Please note that this is not the value shown on the pension statement. A pension is valued by discounting the future benefit back to the present value. Keep in mind that only the marital portion of the future benefit...
When I first meet with couples seeking mediation for their divorce, I find that many have the same questions. One common question is how long divorce mediation will take to complete. It's a tough question to answer since there are many factors that contribute to the completion of divorce mediation. I'll share the factors that I consider to have an impact.
Most of the divorce mediations that I handle take two to four, two-hour mediation sessions to resolve all the issues that need to be resolved. This is after we meet together for a mediation orientation session. In the orientation, I discuss the mediation process and both parties sign the agreement to mediate. Additionally, by the time we start mediation I have had the opportunity to meet with each party individually to discuss their goals and concerns. Here are the six factors that I have noticed will determine how long divorce mediation takes.
When I was dealing with my breakup, I felt a wide range of emotions - everything from sadness to shame to anger and back again. Sometimes in a matter of minutes. On my best days, I wasn't being very kind to myself and on my worst days, I was my own worst enemy.
When you're dealing with a breakup, some days are just plain rough. Maybe you didn't sleep well and you start the day off grumpy and things only get worse from there. You spill your coffee on yourself on the way to work or the traffic’s terrible. You’re late for your meeting, no time for lunch and you wish you’d spent the day in bed.
When you are already emotional from the changes in your life, every little thing that goes wrong can feel much bigger than it is. If you’re having a terrible day, stop for a minute, take a deep breath and take some time out to be kind to yourself. You can’t undo the bad things that have already...
If you are struggling financially after a divorce, you're not alone. Going from one combined household to two separate ones is expensive regardless of your income or divorce settlement. With a little focus, though, you should be back on track in no time.
Consider the following steps to recover your financial situation more quickly.
The most important thing that you can do is to prioritize improving your financial situation. Sure, you may recognize that your finances are not what they once were, but if you don't take the steps to change your situation, you'll find yourself in the same spot months or even years from now.
Decide to start immediately. You'll thank yourself later.
Once you've made improving your financial situation a priority, it's important to know where to start. Take the time to write down all of your...
The issue of how college expenses will be handled comes up in many of my divorce cases. It's common for parents to wait to divorce until their children are teenagers or young adults. This tends to be around the same time that people are preparing to send their children to college. Unfortunately, many are unprepared for the coming expenses.
Applying for and paying for college can be very stressful for many parents. Co-parenting is hard enough without the stress of supporting your kids through the college application process. Often, divorce settlements don't detail how college expenses will be handled. In fact, it's outside of the jurisdiction of many states' domestic relations courts. If college expenses are detailed in the agreement, they're often vague with limited concern around the details adding additional stress.
Enter the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine federal financial aids...
With three school-age children, I'll be honest. I dread the beginning-of-the-school-year paperwork. There is so much new information coming at me and lots to remember - not to mention the mountain of forms I always spend the first few days of the school year filling out. If you are sharing parenting responsibilities with your Ex, it takes teamwork for a smooth transition into the new year. Here are some tips for success.
Work with your co-parent to create a transition plan from the summer schedule to the routine for the school year. In our house, we let the kids stay up a little later and sleep in a little later during the summer. About a week before school starts, we start returning the kids to their normal school sleep schedule. That way, they are well-rested for the first day of school. It's a simple thing but it makes our mornings before school go much smoother.
If possible, I recommend...
Talking to your children about divorce isn't easy, especially when you are still processing your own feelings. Sometimes using books that are designed to guide the conversation can be helpful. Here is a list of age-appropriate children's books about divorce. Click on the picture of the book to find it on Amazon.
Koko is a preschool-aged bear whose parents are getting divorced. Koko is very upset. The book is designed to be read by parents to their children and help them talk about how they're feeling. It reassures children that their parents still love them regardless of the changes happening in their family.
Dinah is scared. Mama and Daddy Bear are getting a divorce. Daddy is moving out and she's not sure when she'll get to see him again. This sweet book doesn't go into details about divorce, but helps acknowledge that there are big feelings involved for kids.
This book focuses on...
Preparing for a divorce is a lot more than just picking up the phone and calling an attorney. There are the emotional aspects, financial, legal, and, of course, there are the parenting issues. It means figuring out what life is going to look like when it's all said and done and includes preparing your children for the transition. For the stay-at-home mom, there are additional concerns around income.
When you realize that your marriage is over, it's normal to feel a variety of emotions. Over time, you'll experience all of the stages of grief. You'll be grieving not only the loss of your relationship but also the loss of the dreams that you shared and the life that you knew. Give yourself time to process each stage of grief throughout the process.
The stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression,...
When I got divorced, I had three children between the ages of three and eight. I remember the stress. I was overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to help my kids get through the divorce and ultimately, how I would manage on my own.
It can be scary to think about how you'll take care of your children after a divorce. There will be many changes on the horizon for everyone. You have to be confident that you can take care of them, even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support. It's also important to remember that taking care of your own needs is vital as you're not going to be able to care for your children if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Don’t be too stubborn to take advantage of the help that is offered. I don't know what I would've done without my mom's support. I am very fortunate that she lives close by. She listened to me...
Your spouse cheated. He or she is leaving you for someone else. Perhaps you've argued for years and just finally had enough. Regardless of the reason, for the vast majority of cases, divorce is emotional. People are emotional. Deciding how your life will be after a divorce is emotional.
Unfortunately, making sound decisions while emotions are running high doesn't work. When we get emotional, we stop thinking rationally, which can lead us to do and say things that we will regret later. It's easy to blow up an important part of the settlement agreement by letting anger and frustration get the better of you. When emotions take over, we stop listening to the other person and focus on the feelings instead of the goals we have for the negotiation.
So, how do you stay unemotional in a situation that is going to have such a big impact on your future? Use the following tips to keep you on track, both with your emotions and divorce...