Getting Through Your Divorce
You can get divorce help from therapy and counseling, which can help you handle emotions that come into play while getting divorced. “It worked for me because I was in a crisis mode and I needed some support during that time to help me label my feelings, deal with them and eventually move forward, which I did,” says Sharon Fishman of Bloomfield Hills, MI. “I attribute my personal growth to myself, but I was very lucky to have a wonderful therapist who listened to me, gave me feedback and was only concerned with what was right for me and my girls.”
Getting support from friends and family helped Sharon get through this difficult time. “Surround yourself with people in your life who will nurture you, support you and just listen,” Sharon advises. “Put the negative people in a corner; you can go back to them when you are stronger.”
Getting Professional Divorce Help
In addition to the emotional issues inherent with getting divorced, there also are the practical issues to deal with, like hiring an attorney, dealing with your finances and setting up a new household.
Going from two incomes to one, or from one income/one household to one income/two households can be frightening. “Typically, people go through the divorce process with their emotions and don’t even consult a financial adviser,” says Beth Zucker, a certified divorce financial analyst in Jenkintown, PA. A financial advisor can help you get your budget together and your holdings in order without fueling the anger you feel towards your spouse. “I try to take the emotions out of it—that’s probably the hardest thing,” she says.
The first step is to collect all your financial documents, recommends Zucker. This includes monthly expenses, retirement plans, pensions, mortgage statements, insurance plans, partnership information, real estate holdings, tax returns, appraisals and other sources of income and interest. Even if you have a financial advisor, Zucker suggests that you educate yourself as much as you can about your money and how to manage it.
Learning about your money also means learning the difference between the types of assets you’ll be asking for during divorce proceedings. In most marriages, according to certified divorce financial analyst Melinda Woodward, there are two types of assets: investments and the marital residence. When divvying up these assets, it’s important to “compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges,” she says. That is, consider whether the assets are liquid, which means easily accessible and non-taxable; what the rate of interest growth is, for instance a home could grow at 4% annually while a retirement account grows at 8%; and whether the asset is income-producing, such as a business, or income-draining, such as a home.