Preparing for Divorce Checklist

Are you planning to get a divorce? Here is a Preparing for Divorce Checklist so you don't forget to tend to these important matters.

Preparing for Divorce Checklist

Change your passwords.

Even if you have not shared your passwords with your spouse, they likely know you well enough to guess your passwords better than anybody. Update all of your passwords to something that your soon-to-be-ex will not be able to guess.

Establish your own email account.

It is not uncommon for married couples to share (formally or informally) an email address. As you move from a joint identity to a separate one, it's important for you to be able to use email freely. This is often a cost-effective method of communicating with your attorney.

Review your credit report.

Credit Karma is a free resource you can use to monitor your credit report. It also allows you to monitor your credit score. As you review your credit report, make sure there are no surprises. If there is anything that should...

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How to determine which assets to keep in a divorce

Most of the time, when I sit down with couples preparing to dissolve their marriage, individuals assume that each account will be divided in half. Did you know that's not always the case? In states like Ohio, where the law requires an equitable distribution of assets in a divorce, it's important to remember that equitable is not always equal. If you have options, how do you determine which assets to keep in a divorce? Rather than ramble on about all of the issues to consider, let's take a look at an example of a couple with whom I recently worked. I will refer to them as Michelle and James and have tweaked the details so as not to divulge their confidential information.

An Example of Dividing Assets in a Divorce

James and Michelle were married for the last 18 years. Michelle is a teacher who has worked in a local Ohio public school district for 23 years. James has a job in IT in the private sector and has worked at various companies throughout his career. He has been with his...

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4 Dissolution Tips All Teachers Need to Know

pensions strs teachers Oct 11, 2017

Teachers, if you are in the process of terminating your marriage, these dissolution tips are for you.

Teachers hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. For one, early in my career, I was a teacher. I earned my Master's in Education and have made quite a few teacher friends over the years. Additionally, I had the pleasure of having some fabulous teachers throughout my education. My children have also been blessed with some wonderful teachers who truly care about their success.

Often, when I meet with teachers who are faced with the end of their marriage, they realize that they do not have a complete understanding of the family finances and their retirement benefits, in particular.  Many do not even realize that they have options when it comes to their pensions. Teachers, you are not alone! It is my passion to provide the education you need to feel empowered as you go through your divorce.

Here are 4 dissolution tips every teacher should know:

Get a ...

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How to Survive Divorce as a Stay-at-Home Mom

preparing for divorce Oct 02, 2017

I find myself supporting quite a few stay-at-home moms with their divorces. I think that's because stay-at-home moms know with absolute certainty that they cannot afford to make costly financial mistakes in their divorce settlements. When you don't have your own income and your income is entirely dependent on someone else, you can feel extremely vulnerable when going through a divorce.

Beyond merely being vulnerable, many stay-at-home moms feel real barriers to getting the advice they need when going through a divorce, especially those who do not have access to money of their own. Here are some professional tips for stay-at-home moms.

For more information about preparing for divorce, check out our book: When It's Just Not Work: A Practical Divorce Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms

Tips on How to Survive Divorce as Stay-at-Home Mom from a Professional

  1. Do not allow fear to make your decisions for you. One of the biggest mistakes that I see stay-at-home moms make is racking up the...
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5 Tips to Improve Your Post-Divorce Budget

When going through a divorce, you are going to experience a lot of changes and many of those will have a financial impact. You will need to set up a new budget for your future.

If you’re on your own for the first time in a long time, you may not have given thought to how much rent will be or how much it truly costs to pay for health insurance or auto insurance and home or renter’s insurance. Everyday items that you never paid attention to – that cup of coffee at the drive-thru or lunches out with co-workers can add up and lead to a cash shortfall.

You need to budget for financial success after your divorce. Being suddenly single is a shock to your emotional and physical self. If you take steps to regain control of certain aspects of your life – your budget, for example – the transition will be easier and you will feel more in control.

Here are five tips for a better post-divorce budget:

1. Don't “set it and forget it.”

Your post-divorce...

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8 Tips for Financially Preparing For Divorce

preparing for divorce Jul 16, 2017

On television, it all seems to happen quickly - there's no time for preparing for divorce. One partner walks in the door and announces, “I want a divorce!” The other couple has a big fight, and one of them says, “That’s it! I’m filing for divorce!”

In many “real life” instances, divorce is more of a slow burn. Sure there are those times when spouses angrily separate and one or the other moves out. However, in many cases, you see it coming, sometimes years in advance.

Because of this, you want to take the time to be financially prepared – especially if you’re the one initiating the divorce from your spouse. 

Every divorce is unique, but there are certain documents and financial paperwork required when you’re filing, whether you’re using a divorce mediator or working with attorneys. It’s wise to get your financial house in order and gather required documentation before you reach out...

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What is considered separate property in a divorce?

I often have clients come in who are misinformed about separate property and which assets should be divided in their divorce. Since I'm in Ohio, I will use that as my example. Ohio is an equitable division state. That means that a couples' marital assets are divided equitably in a divorce. It's important to note that equitable is not always equal but I will come back to that in another post. The question, however, is what constitutes a marital asset. All else would be considered separate property.

Pensions in Divorce

I hate gender stereotypes but I see this all the time so I think it is worth calling it out. I have never once had a man come into my office and say, "She can keep her pension, she earned it" while I frequently hear from female clients, "He can keep his pension, he earned it." I'm hoping others working in the divorce field have not had that same experience.

The pension is commonly the largest asset of the marriage.  If all or a portion of the pension was...

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10 Ways to Save Money on Your Divorce

Divorce is expensive. I've heard that the national average is around $20,000-25,000. Transitioning from marriage to divorce is hard enough without the hefty price tag. However, if you look at search engine traffic, a lot more people are searching for how they can protect their money in a divorce rather than how they can save money on the divorce process itself.

Saving money on your divorce does help to protect your money in a divorce as long as you are still getting sound professional guidance. You don't want to cut corners that are actually going to cost a lot more in the long run.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Divorce

1. Communicate with your soon-to-be-ex. 

This means putting your emotions aside and having good, honest communication. The more you can decide on together, the less you will have to pay professionals. If you are not getting along well when you speak to each other, you may have better luck over email or text. Just make sure you are keeping it positive. If...

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Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

house in a divorce Jun 27, 2017

There is not a simple answer to the question of who gets the house in a divorce. It is, however, a question that comes up over and over as I work with divorcing couples. The family home is one of those assets of marriage that has memories – both good and bad – and it is a topic fraught with tension when a couple divorces. Here are some key factors to consider when determining who gets the house in a divorce.

Related: Deciding If You Should Keep the House

Questions to consider when determining who gets the house in a divorce

Why do you want to keep it?

This question is not as straight forward as it may seem. Is it strictly emotional? Do you want to keep it because your soon-to-be-ex wants it and you want it out of spite? Do you want to keep it so the children will have that one constant in their lives amid the divorce? There are lots of potential reasons for wanting to keep the house, and you may have more than one. Identifying your "why" can help you to...

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Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses

There is a great deal of confusion around Social Security benefits under the most straightforward circumstances. When it comes to social security benefits for divorced spouses, it's even more complicated.

First, it's important to note that social security is not divisible as an asset in a divorce. However, you may still be able to collect on your ex-spouse's work record. For many, social security is a crucial source of income in retirement, so it's essential to understand the rules for planning purposes.

Related post: What Everyone Ought to Know About Divorce and Retirement Accounts 

Spousal Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses

After you are divorced, if you were married for ten years or longer, you might still be eligible for your spousal benefit on your ex-spouse’s record. You're eligible if you meet the following criteria: 

  • You are unmarried, and you are age 62 or older;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or...
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