Money is a central issue in every Texas divorce case. You will need to identify and divide property, allocate debts, and plan for your financial future. This can be a stressful process for anyone, whether you are a financially-savvy businesswoman, or a stay-at-home parent who lacks financial control. This is because our beliefs about money are often underscored by our psychological needs for security, stability, and control. Financial wellness means learning the best strategies and tools to holistically improve your financial landscape. These practical tips are designed to alleviate the feelings of vulnerability or fear that may prevent you from successfully managing your money during your divorce. You might find that the results will bring you confidence, autonomy, and lead to better decision-making for the next chapter in your life.
Tip 1 – Define Your Post-Divorce Goals
A core question you should ask yourself during divorce is: Where do I want to see myself after this process is complete? Let this answer guide your financial decision-making during the divorce process. If you will be making a career change (either by choice or necessity), do it thoughtfully rather than out of urgency. For example, consider if you need to go back to school, pay off debt, begin networking to re-enter the job market, or simply arrange for child care while you pick up some extra shifts. All these tasks require specific time commitments and resources that can be planned during your property division. When identifying these interests, factor in the kind of lifestyle you want to be able to live after divorce and what your expected financial needs will be. Financial advisors can be helpful in this process. Your attorney will be able to talk to you about your legal options and the best strategies to reach these goals.
Tip 2 – Tackle the Administrative Work
Now is the time to organize your finances. If your divorce attorney gives you direction to complete paperwork or gather specific documents, then it is for good reason. Inevitably, most parties need to complete an “Inventory and Appraisement” or a “Financial Information Statement,” during a Texas divorce case. Sometimes, parties will need to complete lengthier formal discovery. Your organized documents and paperwork are critical tools for your attorney to advocate for you, both inside and outside of the courtroom. It is tempting to procrastinate on completing the “homework,” but it is to your benefit to prioritize these administrative tasks.
Tip 3 – Focus on the Essentials
For people who have relied on their spouse to handle money decisions during a marriage, a divorce can be overwhelming. In addition to a rush of new responsibilities and expenses, you are also likely dealing with decreased income. Create a list of financial priorities. Typically, your focus should begin with meeting core needs such as food, shelter, utilities, health care, and transportation. Create a budget for yourself based on these costs. Avoiding heeding unsolicited advice and surround yourself with trusted professionals and peers to guide you. Once the basics are handled, you can then tackle larger financial challenges and plan for long term expenses with greater clarity.
Your divorce does not have to define you, but it can be a defining opportunity for your financial future. If you are facing divorce and have concerns about your financial wellness, working with a family law attorney at GoransonBain Ausley may make the process more manageable.