Smart moves to protect your finances in divorce: Part II
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about how divorce can negatively impact your finances right now and for years to come. If you’re worried about how much the divorce is going to cost, hiring a team of professionals (in addition to your attorney) may seem counterintuitive.
But when it comes to important money decisions – especially at a time when you may not be thinking rationally – investing in professional help can save you a lot of money in the long run. In today’s post, we’ll talk about what kind of players you may need on your divorce team.
Hiring a good attorney is perhaps the most important decision you’ll make. Not only should your attorney have plenty of experience, he or she must also be someone who listens to you and advocates for your best interests. This person is going to represent you in a very personal legal matter. If you don’t feel comfortable voicing your goals and concerns, they probably won’t be addressed.
Next, don’t overlook the importance of a counselor or other mental health professional. Your attorney will be able to understand how you’re feeling, but he or she cannot and should not fulfill the role of therapist. You are going through a difficult emotional time, and you shouldn’t minimize or ignore how you feel. Plus, failing to work through your grief and anger could lead to destructive choices and behaviors during the settlement process.
Finally, you may greatly benefit from the help of both a certified divorce financial analyst and an estate planning attorney. Although your attorney will almost certainly be involved in the process of combing through financial documents, a CDFA can serve as a second set of eyes and can offer you rational financial advice on the potential long-term impacts of your divorce settlement decisions.
After the divorce has been finalized (or after most details have been worked out), an estate planning attorney can help you update your estate plan (if you have one) and help you update other important financial documents. You will likely need to name new beneficiaries on insurance policies if your former spouse is currently listed.
Many people go into divorce with the mindset that they can save money by hiring the cheapest attorney and doing all the legwork themselves. More often than not, this approach is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Investing in good legal and financial help now can save you a lot of money down the road.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “7 Financial Steps to Take When Getting a Divorce,” Maryalene LaPonsie, Aug. 7, 2015