Are You Financially Prepared In Case You Get Divorced?
Copyright © 2009 StraightDivorce.com
A Stanford University study on the effects of divorce revealed that the standard of living for women drops tremendously in the first year after a divorce. That’s pretty surprising to learn in this day and age, yet, so very true. In fact, just recently, a friend of mine mentioned that while she was married her husband had run up a huge amount of debt without her ever knowing about it. Odd as it may sound, even though they had joint bank accounts, she was not aware of what he was doing, at least not until they got divorced. As a result, she’s been left with a lot of debt because she was so unprepared for the worst. The saddest part of it all is that she never even established her own credit rating and yet now she has a bad credit report.
The Impact of Divorce
As amazing as it may seem, even in today’s modern world, many women still believe that once they marry, their husbands will take care of them. What they often neglect to consider is that approximately 1.25 million divorces occur each year, which means more than two and half million people are impacted by divorce and that doesn’t even take into account the children. And more often than not, it’s the women who are left without money to hire a lawyer or handle bills and many are stuck with the dilemma of how they will support themselves after the divorce.
The Things to Consider Before a Divorce Happens!
Regardless of how well you think your marriage is going, it’s never a good idea to leave yourself vulnerable and without financial support. A smart woman makes sure that she has money on hand in the event that she needs to hire a lawyer to represent her if divorce occurs. In fact, every woman should plan for her financial future regardless of her marriage situation. They should have cash on hand for living expenses, lawyer fees and other incidentals that always crop up. Women should be prepared to take care of themselves if they are left to their own devices. The following are a few suggestions to help keep a woman financially secure:
- Open your own checking account; if your partner announces that he wants a divorce, immediately move half of the money that you have in your joint account into your own new account.
- If you’re thinking about divorce and you have credit cards in both names, cancel them before you discuss divorce.
- Be sure to have a credit card in your own name; if you aren’t working, take $1,000 out of a joint account and open up a savings account. Follow that by taking out a $1,000 loan and use the money in your savings account to pay off the loan. You will quickly establish a strong credit rating.
- Do some browsing on the web to find out what your rights are in your particular state.
- Always have copies of important papers regarding financial information before you’re left in a vulnerable situation. If you suspect that your partner might be considering divorce, you should be prepared with copies of every bit of financial information you can find and that includes tax returns, bank statements, payroll records, investment records, credit card statements, insurance policies and mortgage statements as well as the house title.
- Identify what’s rightfully yours and then do everything in your power to protect yourself financially.
- Once the divorce gets underway, don’t accept a settlement too quickly; just because your partner may be in a hurry to get the divorce, don’t be intimated into accepting less than you deserve.
- Make sure you’ve spoken to a good divorce attorney about the division of assets; without knowing the ins and outs about splitting assets, you could wind up emotionally and financially wiped out.
Despite the fact that most states work towards achieving equitable distribution of assets when a divorce occurs, women still tend to come out on the short end of the stick after divorce. According to a study by Leonore J. Weitzman, a sociologist at Stanford University and author of "Divorce Revolution," on average, a woman's standard of living plummets 73% in the year following divorce, while a man's typically increases by 42%. The truth is without proper financial planning, many women are left in financial straights after a divorce and have to fight for their rights to get what they deserve. It would serve women well if they consulted with a financial advisor way before the shoe drops so that they are well prepared if the worst should happen.