Understanding Your Financial Portrait Before Leaping Into Divorce

  February 18, 2019
It always amazes me that individuals and couples are often more comfortable talking about sex than they about money. Talking about their intimate physical relationship is less embarrassing than talking about how they deal with money in their relationship. That’s got to change.

Getting Comfortable with Money

My parents were all about living within their means. My dad was a CPA with a modest income, and my mom was busy raising us and maintaining the household. We received gifts on our birthdays and for Christmas. We ate in and occasionally ate dinner out, mostly to give my mom a break from cooking. If my parents couldn’t afford something, there was no racking up credit card debt. Whatever it was, we did without it. My mom handled the bills and the household budget.
I’m thankful for those lessons, even though I have sometimes struggled to live up to them. Like many people, I wanted to give my kids whatever they needed, which sometimes turned into just stuff they wanted.

So if you are like me, if there are times you are embarrassed by conversations around money, it has been during times when you are living above your means.

But as I speak with women who are going through a divorce, there is often another source of embarrassment. It’s the embarrassment of just not knowing. They never paid very close attention to their finances throughout their many years of marriage.

A very common statement in these conversations is, “I always trusted my spouse to take care of the money while I was taking care of our kids and household.”

One of my missions in life is to help women better understand their finances, and how their finances are intermingled, or not, with their spouse. Many women I speak with have no idea what assets they have or what debt load they are carrying.

They have lived in a house they have made a home, but don’t know if their name is on the deed or mortgage. What is left to pay on the mortgage? They don’t know. Many just sign their tax returns without discussing it with their spouse or accountant.

I am here to tell you, you can and should know the basics of your financial picture. Whether a spouse has kept you in the dark, or you just never had an interest, it’s time to get interested.

Your Financial Portrait

Whether you are getting divorced or not, it is not only your right but your duty to yourself to know and understand your Financial Portrait. At My Divorce Solution, we have developed a unique three-phase process to optimize the outcome of your divorce.

The key component to Phase 1 is creating and analyzing your Financial Portrait. Knowing what assets and liabilities you have now and what your portrait may look like post-divorce is crucial in making an informed decision about if or when to divorce.

Divorce is not an easy process. Having clarity on the financial component of the process will aid you in making informed decisions. Moving forward to an independent life can only happen if you are aware of the life changes that are about to occur, and the financial implications of those changes.

When working with My Divorce Solutions, your Financial Portrait is a detailed report assessing your assets and debts pre and post-divorce. It will serve as a financial foundation whether you choose to get a divorce or stay married.

Either way, knowledge is power. You deserve to have all the facts in hand so you can navigate the next steps, wherever they may lead.

Catherine Shanahan is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst at My Divorce Solution who partners with Karen Chellew, LL. My Divorce Solution is committed to helping divorcing couples develop a transparent plan via a three-phase process to optimize the outcome of their divorce. Phase 1 is the development of the financial portrait.

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