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7 Ways to Ready Your Finances for Divorce

By Elizabeth Renter
For some couples, no amount of marriage counseling is enough to avoid a divorce. It’s a tough process emotionally and financially.

Untangling two people’s money is messy. Long before spousal or child support is awarded or your post-divorce budget is in place, you’ll need to prepare your finances for the work ahead.

Because each divorce is unique, specific advice can only come from experts familiar with your case. However, the following tips should point you in the right direction.

1. Be wary of well-meaning advice
Divorce laws vary by state, so be cautious of advice that seems to be a one-size-fits-all solution — whether you read it online or received it from a friend. If you’re unsure whether you should move money, change accounts or make any other financial moves pre-divorce, consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

2. Track expenses — and anticipate future ones
As soon as you know divorce is inevitable, begin tracking your household income and expenses. This will not only help build a budget post-divorce, but it is also crucial for your attorney and later the judge in deciding how to split assets and debts, and whether to award spousal or child support.

If you’ve already been tracking as part of your budget, even better: You have a record of past months and years. If not, start now, and include household bills, food, clothing, entertainment, home maintenance, transportation, child care and anything else that you spend money on. Use your bank and credit card statements to estimate spending from past years. Next, project future expenses.

“Look beyond the normal monthly expenses and include things like your holiday trips, vacations and seemingly ‘one-time’ expenses like replacing the dishwasher,” says Avani Ramnani, a certified divorce financial advisor with Francis Financial in New York City. Use previous years as a guide, but remember, circumstances change. For example, if you have children, you’ll transition from spending on child care to spending on after-school activities and eventually car insurance and college tuition.

Read the Full Article: NerdWallet.com

5 Pieces Of Parenting Advice To Help Children Adjust Post-Divorce

By Joshua Stern
Now that you’re divorced, you may be wondering how your role as a parent must change. The truth is it doesn’t need to change much if at all. Instead, you now need to consider your parental role in light of the new relationship you have with your ex as co-parents, and how each of you can make your children’s adjustment to your divorce as seamless as possible. It may mean not fixing what’s not broken and, on the flip side, fixing what may be very broken, like the way in which you relate to your former spouse.

As a divorce and family law attorney who has counseled hundreds of clients through their divorces, I am comfortable sharing a few pieces of wisdom I have gleaned about how to create an easier transition for children of divorce when the dust does finally settle. Whether you were involved in an amicable or high-conflict split, as parents it is incumbent upon you to see your children through this difficult time with as little disruption as possible. Here’s how.

1. Be consistent. Creating stability post-divorce is critical. As children begin traveling back and forth between two houses, it is important for them to know what you expect of them. Establishing a unified set of rules, such as a curfew, bedtime, and time allotted for playing video games will go a long way toward easing insecurities that may arise when one household splits into two. Children crave structure and will strive to meet your expectations—as long as they know what they are.

2. Don’t disparage. You may think your spouse is evil but to your children, your ex is someone they love. As children grow up and become independent, they struggle to reconcile their identity with where they came from and what qualities they have inherited from their parents, physical or otherwise. Do your best to keep such conversations at bay, remembering that when you criticize a parent, you are inadvertently criticizing the child.

Read the Full Article: Huffingtonpost.com

Gray Divorce & How Working In Retirement Might Just Save Your Marriage

Source: Forbes.com

By Joseph Coughlin

Alice and Henry were attending a retirement seminar for those in their 60s and 70s when the topic of divorce in later life came up. The facilitator revealed that it was most often the wife who asked for divorce after age 50. The women in the group started nodding in unison.

Then laughter erupted when the discussion turned to why older women sour on their marriages. While infidelity and money were causes for some, boredom or “he bores me” was a major reason women decided to make the exit. As I argue in my new book, The Longevity Economy, when thinking about the future of older age and retirement, the future is female and many men may find that out the hard way.

The men began to understand that the joke was on them.

With Henry standing a half step behind her, Alice lamented that now that he was retired, he was always around, a constant presence in the house. “I married him for life, not for lunch,” she said with a wry smile.

Retirement is often envisioned as a life stage where a couple finally gets time together. The kids are gone, the work is done; now there is time for us. But that uninterrupted time together may not always be the reward that many assume as they plan for retirement.

Since 1990, divorce rates for those over age 50 years old have doubled while declining across all other age groups. In fact, data indicates that since 1960, “gray divorce” in the United States has increased 700%.

Likewise, in the United Kingdom, divorce after age 50 has become so common that older divorcees have their own name – silver separators. Japan has seen divorces in 30-plus year marriages increase by four times in the last couple decades, garnering the name retired husband syndrome.

Read full article on Forbes.com

From Divorce, a Fractured Beauty

SEPT. 24, 2015 – By Lara Bazelon – NYTimes.com

Happy families are not all alike.

Picture this one. A mother and father sit on a beach on the Fourth of July with their two children, a boy, 6, and a girl, 4.

The parents are just on the other side of 40, still relatively young, still relatively attractive. Their children are beautiful: hazel-eyed, tawny and sparkling with precocious intelligence. They revel in the simple joys of sand and saltwater, wading into ocean waves that roll up in green cylinders before melting into white froth.

The scene I am describing is not fiction, and neither is it a single spark culled from an ash heap. Over the course of the five-day vacation, many similar scenes unspool in varying forms but with unvarying equanimity. The family hums along smoothly, splashing in the community pool, eating scrambled eggs and cheering as the fuzzy television shows the United States women’s soccer team winning the World Cup.

There are no harsh words, no frosty silences, no recriminations. When the mother and father are alone with each other, there is quiet conversation about work and school and camp, about what to make for dinner. There is even, occasionally, shared laughter.

The mother and father do not fight over the laundry. They do not fight over money. They do not fight over their marriage. There is no laundry or money or marriage to fight over. Not anymore.

Until this Fourth of July family vacation, the mother and father had not slept under the same roof in 18 months. The ink on their no-contest judgment of marital dissolution still felt fresh to them.

But they decided to take their two small children on a vacation together, to a beach house on an isolated stretch of bluffs in Northern California, and it is a happy one.

This is my story. I am the mother. It’s the story of my family.

I grew up in a loving but undeniably hard-charging and overachieving environment, a world of moral absolutes: good/bad, success/failure, right/wrong. The worst thing you could do in my house was lie; the second worst was quit. Losing was acceptable (sort of). But quitting? Never.

Read full article – NYtimes.com