“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, or, in the case of divorce, possibly
hundreds of thousands of dollars and a great deal of your time.
I often tell my distraught divorce clients: “Divorce is like cutting onions—everyone is going to cry.” The divorce process is expensive with legal fees, court costs, and maintenance expenses. This is especially true for clients who were the stay-at-home parent managing the household and raising the children. Now they must find a job and a source of income. Financial independence after divorce can seem daunting but there are several steps a divorcing parent can do to reach financial freedom:
1. Step 1: Hire an Attorney
Hiring an attorney is essential in assuring your interests are protected and your needs are advocated.
Your attorney serves to guide you through the legal process of divorce and having that mindset at the beginning of retaining an attorney is a step ahead.
2. Step 2: Take Care of You
Divorce is an emotional process. Seek the advice of a licensed therapist to work through the emotional aspects of your divorce.
3. Step 3: Anticipate Changes for Your Children
Be sure that your parenting plan accounts for future changes regarding your children.
If you know your children will need modifications to the parenting plan because they will start school, start driving, or attend summer camp, make sure language anticipating these changes is in your plan!
4. Step 4: Do Not Neglect Spouse’s Assets
Vehicles, bank accounts, real estate, and retirement accounts – all of these assets must be included in the evaluation of the property during your divorce.
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state; therefore, the court will determine marital status of these assets especially if they were purchased, earned, or gained value during the marriage.
5. Step 5: Pay Attention to the Details
Attention to the details in a divorce helps you get much needed funds as soon as possible.
For example, if you are awarded a portion of your spouse’s retirement plan, be sure that your lawyer drafts a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) prior to signing the final order just in case more information is needed from your spouse.
Remember: Financial freedom after divorce is possible through effective steps taken during the divorce!