Taking Control of Your Family’s Finances Following a Divorce
Taking Control of Your Family’s Finances
When faced with the responsibility of managing your family finances for the first time, it can feel overwhelming when it isn’t something you were deeply involved in before. When this duty follows a divorce, the emotion of the situation can take over and lead to a feeling of helplessness, especially if your spouse had managed the family finances. In most cases this leads to inaction, further creating stress around the situation. It’s not that you can’t handle it, you can! But you will need a guide and the encouragement to tackle it at your own pace, and that is what this tool is for.
No one should assume that they can fully understand how you are feeling, as your experience and emotions are uniquely yours. You can find support, but you will have to search out an advisor that you trust will work with you and in your best interest. An advisor’s role in this situation should be to support you when needed, advocate for you when required, and “do” for you when asked. They should be someone to provide the know-how when you are ready to take action, with their goal being to help reduce the anxiety that comes with you not knowing where to start.
With some support and a little direction you can take control of your family’s financial future. To move forward it is important to know what all you will need to address. The best way to track your progress is to operate with a thorough checklist. Some of the tasks below will apply to your family, others may not. Some may be time sensitive, others will prove not to be urgent. Use the seven stages provided below to help navigate your way with your trusted advisor. This can serve as a tool to prioritize where to start, and help you successfully work through the process without missing any important steps along the way
Begin to Organize Your Financial Information
Before you can move forward with planning, you first need to confirm the location of important documents. Start by gathering the following documents, and then create a filing system that organizes them in a way that is intuitive to you.
A copy of the most recent years tax return (these should have been reviewed by an attorney during proceedings)
All Insurance policies, especially those required by to be maintained in the QDRO (qualified domestic relation order)
- Titles to autos and other personal property
- Health insurance & other benefit information for the kids
- Copy of all legal documents, including any will or trust documents
- Location of safe deposit box if there is one, with a list of contents
- Any business interest or royalties you maintained following the divorce
- Memberships, time shares or deeds, country club rights, private clubs, etc.
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