Life Insurance and Divorce: Protecting Your Family’s Future

life insurance May 16, 2018

If you have found your way to my blog, I'm guessing your marriage did not go as planned. Let's face it, in life, there are a lot of things that don’t work out as planned. One of the most trying examples is when you plan to spend the rest of your life with someone, and subsequently, file for divorce. Divorce can take a significant financial and emotional toll on a couple, their children, and other family members. In the midst of immediate financial and legal concerns, couples also need to consider ways to help protect their individual financial futures and that of their children’s in the event of death. This brings me to our topic of life insurance and divorce. Life insurance may offer a solution.

How Life Insurance Protects Your Family

While I always bring up the topic of life insurance during the course of mediation, I find that few want to have an in-depth conversation on the topic. Let’s take a look at several different scenarios. After a divorce,...

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Shared Parenting Plan Checklist

I often find myself sitting in mediation with couples who are looking for guidance when it comes to creating a parenting plan. The beauty of mediation is that you can create a parenting plan that is going to work best for your children and your family. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. That said, there are certain elements that, from a practical standpoint, you may want to address. Here is a parenting plan checklist of items to consider.

Related post: What is Divorce Mediation?

What is a Shared Parenting Plan?

Before I get ahead of myself, what is a Shared Parenting Plan? It's a written document that details how you will co-parent. If you take the time to think through future parenting challenges that may arise, it can take a lot of stress out of co-parenting. It's like a guidebook that you created for yourselves. When we discuss your plans for shared parenting in mediation, you can determine how detailed to get. There is a Shared Parenting Agreement...

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7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Dividing Assets in a Divorce

Worry over financial decisions is normal on an average day but when going through a divorce, it can be paralyzing. The fear around these issues is completely warranted. You only have one chance to get it right and your divorce could quite possibly be the largest financial transaction of your life - not to mention the fact that you are likely overwhelmed by emotions related to all the changes happening in your life.

One way to handle the financial fears is to take control over your situation. Did you know that you don't have to divide your assets 50-50 right down the middle when you get a divorce? In fact, you may not even want to! If it's not simply 50-50 then how do you divide assets in a divorce?

Take control of how to divide assets in a divorce by avoiding litigation

One way to have greater control over how assets are divided in a divorce is to consider alternatives to the traditional litigation process. An important benefit of processes such as mediation and collaborative...

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Dividing Pensions in a Divorce: Shared vs. Separate Interest

Dividing pensions in a divorce can be confusing. For starters, some clients that I see are often confused (even after negotiating their divorce settlement) regarding what type of retirement account(s) that they have. In this blog, I am referring specifically to defined benefit plans. Defined benefit plans are retirement plans where the employee spouse has earned a monthly benefit, which will be paid out once s/he retires. In some divorce cases, the employee spouse and his/her former spouse agree to divide the future benefit via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

Unfortunately, most settlement agreements that I see where pensions were divided do not adequately address the options allowed by the defined benefit plan. To be clear, the options are not consistent across all plans. Thus, it does take some research to know what the options are before they can be considered. The easiest way to avoid some very common mistakes is to request a copy of the plan summary document and...

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Contemplating Divorce? 4 Ways a CDFA can Help Reduce Your Stress

Divorce is difficult and emotional. It’s not something that people decide on a whim. It’s important to do your research and explore all your options to create a secure financial future for yourself. Hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) before you begin your divorce process is a smart choice as it can help ease some of your stress.

Here are 4 ways a CDFA can help:

Alleviate the fear of the unknown.

A CDFA can help alleviate the fear of the unknown. S/he will prepare a financial plan for you based on various scenarios, giving you a greater sense of confidence (or at least a reality check) when it comes to your financial future.   

Answer your financial questions (and fill in any missing financial education)

Let's face it. Many of us could use a little help when it comes to understanding our finances. We are usually somewhat aware of the day-to-day finances but what about the other components? Retirement accounts, stock-based compensation, home...

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Eliminate Shared Parenting Battles with OurFamilyWizard

Parenting is a tough job in the best of circumstances. Shared parenting after a divorce is a whole different ballgame. When I first went through my divorce, dealing with the most basic kid issues felt like preparing for battle with my ex again and again. It was exhausting. Quite frankly, I did not want to contact him every time I received information from the school or one of the kids was invited for a playdate or any other issues that regularly arise.

Related post: Shared Parenting During the School Year: Tips for Success

I first learned about OurFamilyWizard at a conference for divorce financial analysts, and as soon as I started learning about the features and benefits, I was sold. (Please note, while I promote very few services, this post does include affiliate links.) I was further impressed by how widely the courts accept the app.

Shared Parenting Tools

What Is OurFamilyWizard?

OurFamilyWizard is an app that is designed specifically for people like you who are co-parenting with their ex....

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Collaborative Divorce: The Benefits of using a Financial Neutral

collaborative divorce Jan 03, 2018

Divorces have a reputation for being messy and pitting couples at each other’s throats. Much of the controversy surrounding divorces stem from the allocation of assets and other financial concerns. You can reduce the associated stress when you use a Financial Neutral in collaborative divorce cases.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

A collaborative divorce is a divorce process where each party is represented by an attorney that has been trained in the collaborative process but rather than taking a specific position, the parties and their attorneys work together to come up with solutions that are in everyone’s best interests. There is an agreement not to go into litigation. If the collaborative divorce doesn’t work out, then the parties can choose to go for litigation but are required to hire new attorneys that were not involved in the initial collaborative agreement. That’s a big incentive for everyone to keep moving forward toward an agreement.

As part of the...

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How to Prepare for Mediation: Divorce Mediation Checklist

mediation Dec 19, 2017

In my online course, "How to Prepare for Divorce," I go in-depth on how to prepare for divorce and mediation, specifically, if that's the process you choose to use. At a high level, here is a brief divorce mediation checklist to help you prepare for your first appointment.

Divorce Mediation Checklist: Questions for the Mediator

Make a list of questions that you have for the mediator. Before agreeing to use the mediator, both you and your spouse should have an opportunity to speak with him/her. You'll want to ask about:

  • Mediator's experience
  • Cost of mediation/fees
  • Availability for meetings
  • Experience mediating the specific issues that will be dealt with in your divorce

"preparing

Divorce Mediation Checklist: List Your Concerns

Make a list of all of your concerns. You may not address them in your first appointment but it's important to start writing them down. To keep yourself organized, try to cluster your concerns about a specific topic. For example, make a list of all of the concerns you...

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Debt and Divorce: Understand Your Liability for Shared Debt

debt Dec 17, 2017

Are you faced with debt and divorce?

Divorce can be scary but when you're faced with debt and divorce, it becomes even more complicated. Know that you are not alone. Many couples find themselves knee deep in debt and have no idea what to do with it in their divorce.  The best option for shared debt in a divorce is to pay it completely off. Unfortunately, for many, this is not an option.  So what are the risks and what should you do?

If you are faced with debt and divorce, here are some important actions to consider:

Run a credit report.

This is a crucial step in determining just how much debt you have and can also help determine if there is any debt you weren’t aware of. We don’t like to think the worst, but it’s an unfortunate truth that hidden debt can be a common and unwanted surprise.

Use marital assets to eliminate debt.

Once you determine the amount of shared debt see if you can pay any of it off using marital assets before the divorce is...

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How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Have you ever wondered if your husband or wife is hiding assets? Do you want to know how to find hidden assets? Read on. 

It’s an unfortunate truth but it’s common for individuals to hide assets during a divorce. While we may still want to think better of the person we married, it’s important to be diligent and do your research.  

How to Find Hidden Assets: 5 Places to Look

Unreported Income.

Take a look at all savings, checking, brokerage, trust accounts, and any other accounts used by either spouse during the marriage. This can be tough if a person deals with a lot of cash transactions. Hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to do a lifestyle analysis is a smart decision. They can comb through all sources of income and expenses and find things that don’t add up.

Tax returns

A CDFA will usually review at least 3 years of returns, which provides a fair amount of insight into one’s financial picture. Often, tax returns can reflect...

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