A divorce is a huge life change for nearly everyone who goes through it. Most people get through it by leaning on family and friends for support as they struggle to get used to their new reality of no longer being married. It is important to make sure that you are prepared for life after divorce – emotionally and financially. Often, this means consulting with many professionals to help get your new life in order:
- Divorce attorney – This one is the most obvious. An experienced divorce attorney can ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the law as it relates to equitable distribution, child custody, child support, and alimony. Even if your divorce is uncontested, it may be prudent to at least have a consultation with a divorce attorney to make sure your divorce will be finalized without a hitch and that you are not missing anything.
- Estate attorney – If you had an estate plan while married, it is important to revisit it while going through or after a divorce. It is likely that any estate plan made while married treated your spouse as the beneficiary of all your assets – this is not likely to remain your desire after divorce. In addition, your financial situation may change after a divorce. You could have been subject to estate tax laws while married, but not when everything is divided. Conversely, if you receive a large lump sum of alimony or property, this may bring the estate tax laws into play where they did not apply previously.
- Financial planner – If you had a financial planner while married, he/she definitely needs to know that the divorce is happening so that accounts can be divided according to the final divorce decree. Often, some stocks may need to be sold in order to comply with the order, so it is important to keep your financial planner in the loop.
- Accountant – Once your divorce is final, you and your ex can no longer file a joint tax return. As such, your accountant may have different recommendations as it relates to deductions, charitable contributions, and exemptions. As with your financial planner, it is imperative that you keep this professional in the loop regarding the status of your divorce and any financial changes.
- Realtor – If you and your spouse are ordered to sell the marital residence as part of the final divorce decree, you will likely need a realtor to help you do so. Make sure the realtor has a copy of the divorce decree so that he/she knows exactly what terms must be adhered to in the sale of the residence. In addition, the realtor can help you find a new place to live if/when you are required to vacate the marital residence.
- Therapist (Adult and/or child) – Divorce is tough on everyone involved. Check back in with yourself and your kids regularly to make sure everyone is dealing with it in a healthy way. If you need a professional to help you work though any lingering issues, don’t be embarrassed to seek one out.