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When she arrived for her appointment, Monica (not her real name) had a series of questions that had been keeping her up at night. She was in divorce proceedings and had received a variety of opinions from friends and relatives. Needless to say, she was losing sleep and felt stressed over the many decisions facing her. Monica had been referred to us by her family law attorney.

How much can I afford to spend?” was the first question she asked. Monica was receiving a combination of a lump sum and monthly payments from her husband for a period of time. She had no idea how much she could spend and be certain her money lasted the rest of her lifetime.

This question about budget and whether she will run out of money in her lifetime is easily the most common question we receive from those soon to be or recently divorced. We are here to help determine expected cash flow for clients.

This led to a conversation around many of the issues that had been in her thoughts.

“What about my children? How can I be certain their education, health care, housing and so forth are safe? What if I, or my ex, enter a new relationship? What should I do to protect my children’s interests? Does it matter which assets I receive in the divorce? There are real estate holdings, retirement accounts, a pension, investment accounts and several bank accounts not to mention the family home. Is it better to get one type of asset than another? How do taxes come in to play?”

The list of questions she had was endless and included whether she could continue her involvement with non-profits and to what extent, should she have life insurance on herself and/or on her former spouse, should she keep the family home and whether she was missing something important. She went on to ask about how could she find advisors that were experienced in her type of situation and would advocate for her and what should she expect from a tax preparer, estate planning attorney, financial advisor and so forth.

Though I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional , not a divorce attorney, I explained that we could assist her and her attorney as she waded through the financial aspects of divorce. As she left the office, we believe she felt much more secure and calm having addressed some of her initial concerns.

Are you facing divorce? Perhaps you’re just beginning to contemplate it. Before you do, please call a financial professional. We’d like it if you called us, but it’s most important that you have someone on your side from the beginning. Our first hour together is always at no charge and will allow you the opportunity to determine whether we can help you navigate this challenging time.