Financial Divorce Advice For Women | Fort Worth | North Richland Hills

Financial Divorce Advice For Women | Fort Worth | North Richland Hills

Financial Divorce Advice For Women

Protecting yourself in divorce is paramount. At its heart, divorce is a financial battle with your ex to protect your financial interests. You go into a room to get what is rightfully yours while being fair to your soon-to-be-ex. Before you enter the room, make sure you are truly prepared for the fight with the following divorce advice for women.

Gather Your Documents
A common concern in divorce is the possibility of hiding assets in divorce. Be aware some spouses try to pull one over by hiding bank accounts, property and other assets from the court in an effort to come out ahead. Consider hiring a financial expert to comb through everything to make sure the full financial picture is declared in your divorce decree. At a minimum, make sure you grab copies of all documentation before you vacate any residence, if applicable. Make sure you have your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and other financial documents for your divorce attorney.

Create a Budget
Losing a source of income hits your financial stream hard. Make sure to create a budget showing your current income stream and your outgoing bills. You need this information during the divorce to calculate child support and maintenance. Once the divorce is finalized, you need to add in any alimony and child support awarded in the decree to your budget to get an accurate view.

Check Your Credit
Divorce has the potential to ruin a credit score. When you entwine your credit with your spouse’s credit, you rely on his good payment history. If your ex-husband is typically the bill-payer, you may find yourself with past-due payments if he ceases to pay the bill. Pull your credit reports to make sure all the information is complete and accurate. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — each year. You may also benefit from pulling your credit scores — although you must pay for them.

Don’t Sign Anything
Much like hiding information, some spouses may try to pull a fast one. Do not sign any paperwork from your ex without having it reviewed by your attorney. Even if your spouse is not attempting to deceive you, signing documents could have a negative impact later in the divorce.

Separate Your Finances
As soon as possible, close joint accounts and open an account in your name. Just remember, don’t take money you aren’t entitled to! In addition, you want to cancel joint credit cards and any of your spouse’s credit cards where he is listed as an authorized user. You are still responsible for paying those bills if he charges up debt.

 

Financial Divorce Advice For Women

Impact of Divorce for You and Your Children

Impact of Divorce for You and Your Children

Divorce is full of uncertainty about the future. What was once a full family unit melts away into two families and homes. The impact of divorce for you and your children is significant with both mental and physical changes occurring. In divorce, you must put your children first paying special heed to their needs and pain. All the side effects you are feeling in your divorce — mental stress and physical ailments — your children feel as well.

Parenting Plans
Co-parenting requires both parents to amicably discuss matters pertaining to the health and happiness of the children. Part of your divorce process is hashing out a parenting plan for your children. The parenting plan discusses custody, parenting times, making decisions, support and conflict resolution. Make the parenting plan as detailed as possible to avoid conflicts but remember to be flexible when the situation merits it.

Child Behaviors
The impact of divorce on your children varies based on the child’s temperament. Some children do well — others start to rebel and act out. Common behaviors of children in divorce include lying, mood swings, stomach aches, academic problems and physical changes including weight loss or gain. How you manage the time during and after the divorce has a significant impact on your child’s behavior.

Do’s & Dont’s

  • Get in the habit of developing a routine. Providing a routine gives the children a feeling of stability and structure in an otherwise uncertain time.
  • Don’t play the blame game. Be respectful of your spouse and present a united front in parenting matters.
  • Resist the temptation to lift the rules and restrictions for your children during this time. Children need boundaries and keeping your rules in force helps with stability.
  • Take the argument somewhere else. If you and your estranged spouse are having a disagreement, make sure to do it away from little ears.

Coping With Stress
It may be hard to see past your own anger in your divorce to see your children’s pain. Divorce is equally stressful for kids as it is for the spouses going through the process. Listen to your kids and provide reassurance of not only your love but the other spouse’s as well. Make sure your kids understand the divorce was not in any way their fault. Keep providing physical reassurance such as hugs, pats on the shoulder and physical closeness.

Seek Support
It is recommended that you and your children seek professional help to deal with the mental stress of a divorce. Contact your doctor about seeing a therapist or social worker. Professionals can help your child talk through feelings and emotions he may not want to discuss with the parents.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™

Bryan-Bernard-CDFAA Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) can compile your financial information related to your assets and debts for use during the divorce proceedings. CDFAs create reports, provide ongoing financial education and feedback throughout the divorce process.

Your CDFA acts as an advocate and an expert to help you through your trying time. As a CDFA, I am neutral towards both parties — I work without bias and do not take sides. Instead, I work with open transparency between the couples to mediate a resolution with respect to your financial matters.

Whether you need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ depends on your financial situation. If you have significant assets in your marriage along with children, contact a CDFA early on in your divorce for the best benefit.

How can a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ help you?

  1. CDFAs conduct a financial analysis which lists all your assets and debts. By hiring a CDFA early on, you reduce your anxiety levels about what to expect in the divorce process.
  2. Part of the process in the divorce is calculating how much alimony and support payments are going cost. Your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ prepares a household budget and estimates how much you need in support from your ex-spouse.
  3. I can save you money. Attorneys charge by the hour for their services. If your attorney needs to compile your information, it could cost significantly more in attorney’s fees than if you hired a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ some of the work.
  4. You leave the divorce process with a clear understanding of your finances before and after the split. With all the information at hand, you minimize any regret of lost opportunities to retain your wealth during the divorce process.

I recommend contacting a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ before you hire an attorney. I work best when the attorney is open to collaboration between our firms. Hire an attorney who doesn’t want to collaborate and you don’t get the most from my services. I can also recommend several attorneys who could fit your needs.

You will experience the best results when both spouses participate in the process — however it is not a prerequisite for my services. If your spouse refuses to meet with me, you still benefit from the services I provide. Contact me to set up an appointment today!

Don’t Divorce Your 401(k) – 401k In A Divorce

Don’t Divorce Your 401(k) – 401k In A Divorce

401k In A Divorce: A divorce doesn’t just separate two lovers; it separates your money from your pocketbook. Money and assets — including your 401(k) — generated during your marriage are up for grabs in the divorce settlement. In most cases, your estranged spouse walks out of your life with half your retirement funds in their hands.

What Happens To Your Retirement In a Divorce?

During the divorce proceedings, you spouse’s attorney files for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) requesting a split of the retirement assets. Once approved by the judge, your spouse gets a legal document authorizing the transfer of half your 401(k) balance payable to them. With that document, he/she may rollover the funds into his/her own IRA account.

Three Ways to Protect Your 401k In A Divorce

  1. Sign a Pre-Nuptial Agreement excluding your 401(k) from your marital property. Of course, you need to perform this step before the marriage.
  2. Stop contributing to your marital 401(k) immediately after separation. Contributions made after the separation but before the divorce may be treated as marital property and you lose half of it. Wait until your divorce is final before resuming contributions to your 401(k).
  3. Word your settlement proposal to exclude the balance of your 401(k) before your marriage. By excluding your balance before the marriage, only the contributions and earnings accumulated during the marriage are designated as marital property.

Don’t Forget to Switch Beneficiaries
After your divorce is final, you need to do the paperwork on your retirement account. Before your divorce, your spouse was listed as the beneficiary of the funds in the event of your death. With the divorce, you must specify another beneficiary in which to award your 401(k) balance. Why does this matter? Your divorce doesn’t remove your spouse as beneficiary. In the event something happens to you, your spouse gets your retirement funds.

Don’t just change the name to your minor child’s name either. By awarding the money to a minor child, it goes to your spouse by default. Choose a responsible adult who will do right by the money for your kids. If you want to protect your 401k in a divorce situation, contact Bryan Bernard today.

 

401k In A Divorce

Splitting The Community Property In Texas

Bryan P. Bernard, Financial PlannerSplitting The Community Property In Texas

It’s important to understand that all property is not community property. What the court considers joint property is a common question. An attorney will be able to cite the specific laws, but generally speaking, marital property consists of assets acquired during the marriage, including:

- house(s)
- cars
- retirement plan funds
- stocks and stock options
- brokerage accounts
- closely-held businesses

I work with your attorney

You have rights regarding your nonmarital property (also called separate property) which includes an inheritance that is kept separate from joint accounts or received prior to or after your marriage. Other assets considered nonmarital are things that you owned prior to the marriage (as long as you kept them in your name, such as real estate), a gift received from a party outside the marriage, and sometimes a settlement awarded for pain and suffering in a personal injury case.  Keep and share what’s fair.  Please contact me today for more information about how I can help you and your attorney.

Divorce In Dallas County

Divorce In Dallas County

Few couples rush into divorce. Most of the people I talk with have been married for quite a few years, both spouses are or have been working, and they may have lived in several locations, with properties to sell or lease. When they decide to get a divorce in Dallas County, they need to know information that will make preservation of wealth possible for both parties. This is especially important for people who own or are an officer in a business where equipment and supplies could end up as community property. There are also financial issues to sort out before recording in Dallas county courts regarding a job in sales and the commissions due in the future. Insurance policies also are part of a financial account for discussion. You need to make certain that all information is available; nothing is missing, to receive the most favorable outcome. For example, you may also want to consider taking a general video of your assets to have a record. It’s complicated, and you need to sort things out sooner than later.

Attorneys know the law and have the experience in district civil courts working with the clerk for county divorce forms. Each party in a divorce will need representation. Be sure to talk with several lawyers before making a decision on who will represent you and your children’s best interests. You may also want to research mediation online – a good mediator is helpful to prevent divisiveness.

I work with many couples contemplating divorce Dallas County – from the 972 and 214 area codes. I care about supporting your rights and preserving your assets when ending a marriage. That’s why I have an open door available to meet at many times in the day. Look through my Web site, and then call or send me an email about your situation. I’ll get back with you to review your specific situation before you end up with files in Dallas county courts. If you live in Carrollton, you may be in either Dallas County Texas, or Denton County, depending on where you live.

Please let me know if you need a map or directions to our office.

Marital Assets in Divorce

Marital Assets in Divorce

Money issues are frequently a cause of problems in marriages that end in divorce. And the most challenging process in a divorce is coming to agreement over assets. Regardless of income or the amount of the estate, both parties need to focus on an equitable settlement to prevent an inordinate amount of fees going to the attorneys involved.

If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that one of my mantras is ‘plan ahead.’ I see so many people start late with financial planning. Before you see a lawyer about a divorce, talk with a financial planner. You can determine what assets you are able to protect, whether they were acquired during the marriage or not. You have much more flexibility with your account while you are still married, before a separation. Conversations about distribution of property with a spouse will be inevitable, and can save attorney fees if the division is agreed upon prior to going to court.

Marital Assets in Divorce have considerations

It’s important to understand that all property is not community property. What the court considers joint property is a common question. An attorney will be able to cite the specific laws, but generally speaking, marital property consists of assets acquired during the marriage, including:

-          house(s)

-          cars

-          retirement plan funds

-          stocks and stock options

-          brokerage accounts

-          closely-held businesses

 

You have rights regarding your nonmarital property (also called separate property) which includes an inheritance that is kept separate from joint accounts or received prior to or after your marriage. Other assets considered nonmarital are things that you owned prior to the marriage (as long as you kept them in your name, such as real estate), a gift received from a party outside the marriage, and sometimes a settlement awarded for pain and suffering in a personal injury case.

 

Your Marital Assets in Divorce

If you are considering divorce, it’s especially important that you gather the information you need regarding custody issues, what assets are common to share vs. divide and tax factors. Being well-prepared with information and support will earn benefits in terms of a more fair arrangement in the end.

 

Read more:  Divorce in Texas

Read more:  Divorce In Texas – 5 Steps To Avoiding Divorce Debt

 

marital assets in divorce

Divorce In Texas – 5 Steps To Avoiding Divorce Debt

Divorce In Texas – 5 Steps To Avoiding Divorce Debt

Divorce in Texas

The life changing effects of divorce often wreak havoc on both parties’ financial situation. Resolving to make a plan during the divorce proceedings can save you additional headache and heartache down the road. Here are five steps that will help you keep a firm grip on your finances, avoid unwanted debt and protect you from negative financial surprises:

1.  Make certain that all joint accounts are closed. With attorney approval, take your name off of any property or credit cards for which you are/were both responsible. For example, if your spouse is assuming ownership of the house, make sure that your name is off both the mortgage and the title to the house. If not, you may be liable for payments if your spouse defaults.

2.  Look at your credit report and determine which credit card accounts have joint responsibility. Close the account(s) in writing to prevent any outstanding debt boomeranging in your direction. If you are only an authorized user, and not a joint owner, then you are not liable for future charges. But you still want the account owner to remove your name from the account.

3.  Resolve debt issues, determining who pays for outstanding debts.

4.  Avoid ‘guilt purchases’ for your kids that put you in debt. Divorcing parents may want to indulge the desires of children to ease the pain of a life-changing situation. Your relationship with them is far more important than anything you will buy them at this stage of transition.

5.  Create a budget. Know what money you have available to spend and stick with it. Getting outside help on budgeting is a valuable exercise to create a realistic spending and saving plan.

Divorce In Texas – The Negative Impact

Your credit can be negatively impacted by divorce, even if you are a financially responsible person. The divorce decree can’t be used to help your credit score if you are in any way contractually connected with a defaulting ex-spouse. Make sure that debt obligations are thoroughly detailed by the court.

Divorce in Texas

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Divorce In Texas

401k: Manage Your Portfolio Better

If you’re like many people today, your retirement savings is a collection of plans and accounts spread out  in many places.  It’s easy to lose sight of how everything fits together.

 

portfolio

 

Click here to get your copy of ’401k: Manage Your Portfolio Better’

 

 

Nine Big Mistakes When Saving For Retirement

When it comes to funding your retirement, you have to watch your step. What seems reasonable today, may not ultimately help you reach your goals.

You’ve heard the stories. Hard-working people on the road to achieving their retirement dreams become sidetracked by unforeseen developments.  Unexpected medical expenses. A downturn in the stock market.  A job loss.

To read more about our publication about retirement, click here

 

 

Nine Big Mistakes When Saving For Retirement