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.
View your attorney as a paid professional rather than a friend or confidante. Women tend to be supportive and sensitive to the needs of others, to build bridges, and to “make nice.” These tendencies often get in our way during divorce. You have to insist on getting what you need and deserve. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to take care of yourself financially. Use this time of upheaval to start taking control of your life.
During divorce, many women are concerned about financial survival—and with good reason.
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.
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Finally, don’t just pack your bags, load up the kids, and drive away in a car that needs four new tires. The three most important words during divorce are: document, document, document.
Think about the timing of the separation: Is your husband due a bonus or other windfall in the near future?
Don’t separate until after it arrives, so it will be community property.
If your spouse’s business generates a lot of cash, engage a forensic accountant to look for telltale signs of additional income. Should you take the brokerage account or the retirement plan? Your situation may require some calculation by an accountant to determine if you are really getting the best deal. During divorce, ignorance is certainly not bliss—instead, it can be very, very expensive. Doing as much as you can by yourself will help you recover more quickly from the divorce because you will have a healthy sense of control over the process, be focused on practical things, and be working with your ex to get things done.
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.
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