When You’re Better Off Apart

Don't allow your financial security to become a casualty of divorce

insurance needs. If children are dependent on both parents’ income, you may need to increase your existing life insurance coverage. If you are the primary caregiver, disability insurance provides income protection should you be unable to work.

Revise records. If you haven’t done so already, update your will and any other documents that name your ex-spouse as beneficiary. Any financial documents or credit cards with his name on it will be legally available to him, and you might be financially liable.

Don’t forget to plan for your financial future. “Investment priorities may or may not fall by the wayside during the first couple of years. You must focus on retirement because you are now responsible for yourself,” says Maxwell.
It may sound a bit harsh, but don’t let your children’s future needs derail retirement financing. You may be tempted to jump through hoops in the interest of your children, but that may not be what’s best for you. “Talk to your child honestly about what you can and cannot do,” says Adam.”Talk to counselors at school and start researching scholarship possibilities. If you start early enough, you can groom your child for scholarships.”

Divorce is about change. You’re starting a new chapter in your life. If you want to increase the likelihood of a happy ending, approach the process with your head instead of your heart.

1. Take care of yourself before you start taking care of others. Unfortunately, half of all marriages end in divorce, which underscores the importance of being in control of your finance
s. Gain an accurate picture of your financial report card by looking at tax returns, deeds, contracts, and insurance policies.

2. Videotape and take inventory of all prized possessions (they have a way of disappearing). This is helpful for insurance reasons or in the event of a divorce. Also learn about the laws of your state so that you can protect separate assets.

3. Get all of the professional advice you need. If you know you’re getting a divorce, at the very least, you’ll need a high-quality attorney, financial advisor, and certified divorce planner. For more information, try the College for Divorce Specialists (www.cdscollege.com).
Experts advise taking inventory of all household contents. Prized possessions have a history of disappearing in divorce cases. Judges often enforce the status quo, says Wall, so engage in activities now–like going back to school or getting braces for junior–that you will need or want to continue after you part ways. It’s also important to learn about the laws of your state to protect your separate assets. In most states, money brought into the marriage (plus gifts and inheritances) remains separate property if you can verify its source. Save all the documents you will need to claim your property.

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