Surviving Financially After Divorce Tip# 3

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Surviving Financially After Divorce | Karen MendezHow to prepare yourself to deal with the financial realities of divorce – especially in today’s economy.

More often than not, the standard of living of both spouses drops in the first few years after divorce.  Why?  Because the same cumulative income and pool of assets now has to support two households instead of one.  Unfortunately, most people don’t prepare themselves financially or emotionally for that consequence.  So what can you do to better prepare yourself for this inevitability?  The answer is simple, but it’s not easy to put into practice.

Divorce is an inherently stressful process.  To alleviate some of the stress, it’s important to be proactive and in control.  Here is part #3, of the “Lucky Seven” things you can do to help prepare yourself financially for your post-divorce future.

3. Know what you have

Account statements have a way of disappearing when divorce proceedings start.  When contemplating divorce, start by collecting statements for all your financial holdings and put together a list of your assets. When negotiating your divorce settlement, this step will prove helpful as a starting point. Here’s an example of items you’ll need to list on an Asset Worksheet.  Remember to note the value of each asset, and who owns what portion of it:

  • Retirement Assets
  • Liquid Assets (bank accounts, non-retirement investment accounts, cash etc.)
  • Real Estate
  • Personal Property
  • Cash Value Life Insurance
  • Business Interests

As you work your way through the asset split negotiations, each asset can be moved to its appropriate column: “Husband” or “Wife”.  To figure out the percentage split, divide the total for each spouse by the grand total.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Karen MendezI am a certified divorce financial analyst with clients from all over San Diego.  I specialize in working with attorneys, mediators, individuals and couples, helping them navigate through the morass of the divorce process.  My expertise lies in understanding the special tax and financial issues that can plague divorce and I work to help clients attain financially fair and equitable settlements.  I strive to help clients avoid having long-term regret over decisions made during the divorce process and my goal is for clients to be successful in the new phase of their life.

After my own experience with divorce & the loss of my father a short time later, both emotional and financial fears set in.  I had become unmoored from the life I knew and was now in a circumstance that created uncertainty.  While paralysis in the face of challenge can be common, it can also be debilitating.  I had a desire for the comfort that comes with clarity of action but was unsure what to do.  I believe it is imperative clients focus on what they have and how to best utilize their resources instead of focusing on how their life used to be.  Once they do so they often realize that although life may be different than it was before, it can often be even better.

I present to groups and am the founder of “Women and Wealth” workshops held in Rancho Santa Fe and Santa Barbara.  Although I work in an often stressful field I manage to find time to decompress while enjoying my hobbies of traveling, surfing, golfing, dancing and volunteering with the San Diego Nice Guys.  One of my long standing loves is my equestrian hobby.

“Bringing Rationality to Irrational Situations”


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