Before I start, I would like to tip my hat to my New York colleague, Jeff Landers. Jeff recently published a super divorce blog in Forbes Magazine, The Six Personal Traits That Help Women Successfully Survive Divorce. That blog inspired me to review my divorce financial planning cases for strategies that resulted in positive outcomes for my female clients.specialist
Rationale over emotions
This is the one area where many of my female clients “lose it.” They are surprised with their husband’s business-like approach to negotiations and fall deeper into hurt, anger, and despair. I have been in collaborative meetings and asked the wife “what do you want from your husband (financially) to move forward? The response is many times “I do not know.”
To be successful in your negotiations, you must “contain” your emotions and deal with them with a mental health specialist. Take time needed to work through the emotions. If you’re going to lose your cool during a meeting, ask for a break. Postpone meetings if it’s a particularly bad day. Do everything you can (see the steps below) to become a formidable co-partner of the marital pie.
Educate, coordinate, delegate, but do not litigate
Read, take classes, Google, and set up initial consults with professionals. Good information goes a long way in leveling the playing field in negotiations. The goal is to make the best well-informed, rational decisions that you can make.
Choose your divorce team and make sure that everyone is coordinating their activities for one purpose-safeguarding you and your family. Make sure that you play to the strength of each team member, i.e. legal issues- attorney, financial issues-CPA/ CDFA™, and emotional-mental health. Each team member should also be delegating applicable issues to the other team members, as well.
Sometimes, litigation is necessary, but it is the one process that can destroy the family and put you into bankruptcy. Mediation or Collaborative Practice can be great alternatives.
Manage and focus
My most successful clients did not step away from the process. When at team member was to take an action (meeting, phone call, etc.), they would follow up shortly after the due date to make sure that the process was moving along.
It took a while, but when my client focused on the future (and not on her husband’s past or current antics), the decision process and settlement moved rapidly. She survived the process and is thriving in her own financial future.
Divorce is one of the most difficult situations that anyone can face. Being well-informed, rational, focused, and involved will help any woman overcome her unique challenges in the divorce process and move into the future with her best foot forward.
John Faggio is a CPA, a Certified Financial Planner™Professional and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. He works with individuals and couples, and assists divorce attorneys in developing creative solutions to financial divorce settlements.
Email or call John today at 410-988-7333 for an initial, flat-fee consultation.