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Make a clear copy of all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial statements, banking information, brokerage statements, loan documents, credit card statements, deeds to real property, car registration, insurance inventories, and insurance policies.Also, copy records that you can use to trace your separate property, such as an inheritance or gift from your family.Make property division decisions based on your own long-term best interest, not out of revenge. Make an effort to bring the divorce to a successful conclusion with as little rancor as possible. Then, you can go back to sleep and deal with them first thing in the morning. Many women put their careers aside to concentrate on their families.Also, try to get a lump-sum whenever possible so you control the cash. If the divorce lasts for years and you lose all of your money? After divorce, you will probably need to figure out a way to support yourself and your children.Don’t separate until after it arrives, so it will be community property.Think about Social Security: If you’ve been married nine years, you might want to stick out the last year, so you can collect on your ex’s earnings record.Studies show that in the first year after divorce, the wife’s standard of living may drop almost 27 percent while the husband’s may increase by as much as 10 percent.Many factors combine to lower women’s standard of living after divorce. Expenses will begin to mushroom as soon as the divorce process starts.
During divorce, many women are concerned about financial survival—and with good reason.
Remember: there’s nothing like new knowledge and a fulfilling career to bolster your self-esteem. Engage a forensic accountant if you think there might be hidden assets. Hire a divorce financial professional to help determine the best settlement options for you.
Don’t skimp now on matters that will affect the rest of your life.
Don’t overlook hobbies or side businesses that might have expensive equipment or generate income. And, if there’s a chance that your past joint tax returns omitted income or overstated deductions, you may want to seek an indemnification clause to protect yourself if the IRS decides to audit. Also, taking an active role in the negotiations will help you to reach a better settlement than “letting the attorneys handle it.” You will have less conflict and litigation after the divorce, better compliance from your ex, and better sharing of information about the children. During this trying time, it’s easy to confuse your feelings with the facts.
If you have a PHT degree (Putting Honey Through), you might be entitled to some reimbursement for the cost of his tuition. Your attorney may give you legal advice, but all of the decisions are ultimately up to you. Try to be as dispassionate and businesslike as possible. Going through a divorce can sometimes make you feel like the captain of a leaky boat on stormy seas—there seems to be a new crisis at every turn.