While 2020 brought the shutdown and speculations of an upcoming baby boom, in reality it caused many couples to rethink their respective futures. As a result, we’ve seen one of the most alarming upticks of filings for divorce in modern day history. Take it from someone who has found herself completely distraught from the incomprehensible demoralization of being a “divorcée”, none of us go to the altar thinking that this might end up in complete disaster. Usually the vows and intent to keep them were genuine and pure in the moment they were made. Unfortunately, conducting the proper due diligence on a significant other is overlooked before making that lifelong decision. Sometimes we ignore red flags that later appear blatantly obvious when looking in the rearview mirror. There are many reasons we ignore or discount glaring issues:
- We were too young and naïve when we got married
- We were too enamored with our mate & physical attraction took over rational thought
- He or she completely misrepresented himself/herself or his/her past
Whatever cause of the demise of the marriage, divorce is never fun…for anyone.
No matter how you decide to pursue your divorce – whether collaboratively, through mediation, by “conscious uncoupling”, etc – ninety-nine times out of a hundred, some nasty disputes will arise. Even in cases where both parties want to remain civil, emotions rise when the custody of the children and/or financial matters come into play. In these two areas, it is best to seek specialized professionals to help identify the most practical & fair solutions for all involved.
When it comes to pecuniary matters, it is pertinent to create a “financial affidavit” and to be as detailed as possible with it. Each state has a different name for this document but essentially, they all include the following:
Obviously, the higher the net worth, the greater the stakes. This document will ultimately be used in court to determine how much spousal and/or child support will be awarded. It is crucial to be as specific and truthful as possible; any attempt to thwart the facts could be misconstrued in court and come back to haunt you (no matter which side of the table you reside). For entrepreneurs, it is best to obtain a third-party valuation of the company’s value. A Certified Exit Planning Advisor (“CEPA”) can further contemplate the true value of your business and the most cost-efficient way to handle any division of assets or resources. For corporate executives, it is best to work with a private wealth manager to accurately value your RSU’s, deferred compensation, 401k or pensions plans.
Proper planning is the key to future success for all parties involved, including your children. This is an area where most parents are willing to compromise. Sadly, our kids (no matter what age) are the ones who most likely will bear the brunt of divorce for years to come, even when you might find yourself happily engaged in a new and exciting relationship.
Without question, divorce causes distress. Distress comes in many forms: emotional, physical, spiritual, and last-but-not-least, financial. That being said, there is hope. There is an array of resources available to those who seek it.
Take care of your emotions, mind, and spirit as you walk through and recover from a divorce. I personally found outside counsel and workshops most helpful. If you aren’t already familiar with the work of Dr. Brené Brown, I would highly encourage you to check out a book or podcast. She is an American professor who has authored five #1 New York Times bestsellers all aimed at many of the sensitive topics, including vulnerability, shame, empathy, and courage – all of which are topics associated with divorce. Of course, there are plenty of great resources to be found at your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of contemplative worship.
Don’t forget your physical well-being. It has been proven that exercise works as a natural antidepressant, elevating the levels of dopamine and serotonin in our brains.
When it comes to the distress of your pocketbook or wallet, I would highly recommend consulting with a Certified Divorce Financial Advisor (CDFA). He or she has access to a vast array of resources that can help you successfully navigate through the peaks and valleys of your new life as expressed in 3D (divorce, disputes and distress).
Don’t fret too much. Many of us have lived through it, and are happy to share our experience, strength, and hope. Know that you are not alone. I have personally felt the disheartening pain of divorce and know what it’s like to make it to the other side. Although the 3Ds may mark the end of one chapter of your life, with the right advice and resources, they can also open the door to a bright new tomorrow.
Rachael Wyatt has more than two decades of experience in the wealth management industry and is now working with a team of highly credentialed specialists at Venturi Private Wealth in Austin, TX. She previously held both management and consulting positions in the Private Banking & Investment Group at Merrill Lynch. Rachael is a member of Kingdom Advisors and currently holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), and the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA®).