Let’s just cut straight to the chase. Divorce costs…BIG! It can be one of the most costly investments or divestments ever if you ask me regardless of what side of the gavel and decree one might sit. That’s likely one of the many reasons God would prefer us to stay married (with the exception of instances like abuse) and why exhausting every, single possible road to staying together is such as wise option.
Anywho, what those who haven’t been unfortunate enough to travel the road of divorce might not know is that the afterMATH of divorce often lasts longer than the shock of the separation and the finality of the decree. For some, there could be financial strains and pains lasting what appears to be a lifetime. Whether one is the one who left, or the one who was left there could be circumstances where a former couple has children together and child support obligations, school, graduation and wedding financial requirements, shared property with both or one name on the line, mutual business dealings with jobs, life insurance, retirement, stocks, bonds, social security, credit ratings and public reputation on the line, short-term or long-term alimony, depleted savings, foreclosure or short sale of homes, and a bunch of other stuff I probably didn’t even know about as I maneuvered blindly through my own personal ordeal that’s still a big deal with which I’m dealing five years later.
So, what’s a woman or man to do with the afterMATH (as in money issues) following a divorce?
Here’s what I have heard or learned:
- Never give up hope. So cliché’ but so true. Things can and will get better.
- Don’t fret over what the other person is doing, or what you think they’re doing, especially if it appears that he/she is doing, gaining or having more than you are able.
- See a financial advisor and fast.
- Seek counseling.
- Readjust banking, retirement and life insurance matters quickly.
- Keep good written documentation, not to use against anyone, but to make sure you are handling things on your end properly.
- Liquidate any shared property as quickly as possible and be proactive about communicating with the party most affected as to the status of things.
- Put pride aside and ask for help from family and friends if you fall on harder than normal times.
- Talk to your creditors about what’s going on to see what help they might provide.
- Be realistic with your children about the financial state of things (never pointing the finger, depicting another party negatively or placing blame), but in a way where they appreciate what they have and the sacrifice being made.
- Learn to budget even better and accept it as a temporary new way of life.
- Appreciate the new lessons learned as prepping ground for greater. Either you can use your couponing and discount dining skills and frugal shopping for yourself and your children, and/or share them with others to help them make the most out of where they are in life.
- Put it on paper. Journal what you’re experiencing so that you can look back and be even more grateful when you’re from under the financial fog often brought about due to divorce.
- Stay focused on who and what matters. Beware of bitterness, especially when money, court ordered requirements and promises are short.
- Pray for the other person, especially if those answered prayers can benefit you both as you go your separate ways while maintaining a financial tie.