In my work supporting divorced individuals in the Colorado area along their financial journey, I...
22 Questions to Ask a Financial Professional During Your Divorce
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly challenging and emotionally draining experience. The process of untangling your life from your former partner's can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to making crucial financial decisions.
Having trusted professionals to lean on during this difficult time can make all the difference. In particular, a financial divorce professional, such as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) or a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), can provide invaluable guidance and expertise to help you navigate the complexities of your divorce.
In this blog post, we will outline essential questions to ask your financial professional and explore key topics to consider as you assess the impact of your divorce on your current and future financial situation. By arming yourself with the right knowledge and support, you can approach the financial aspects of your divorce with confidence, and make informed decisions for your future.
Protecting your finances during a divorce can significantly improve your financial stability and future well-being. Being proactive in safeguarding your assets, income, and financial interests is crucial in this process. The sooner you start thinking about protecting your finances and taking action, the better. In fact, taking steps toward financial protection can even occur before you file for your divorce.
By engaging a knowledgeable financial professional with experience in divorce cases, you can gain valuable insights and guidance on how to navigate the financial aspects effectively. To understand whether you're on the right track, consider asking the questions such as:
- What steps should I take to protect my finances during the divorce process based on my unique situation?
- How will my retirement savings be affected by the divorce, and what steps should I take to secure my future retirement?
- What steps can I take to document and establish the value of my assets to prevent any undervaluation?
- What options should I consider if I am worried my ex-spouse will overspend during this time?
- What options should I consider if I don’t want to incur any more debt during the divorce process?
- How should I handle joint bank accounts and shared credit cards to protect my assets?
- What should I do now to start establishing my own financial identity?
By seeking expert advice and asking the right questions, you can make informed decisions that safeguard your financial well-being during and after the divorce process.
Division of Assets
The division of assets is a critical aspect of the divorce process, as it determines how property and possessions acquired during the marriage will be divided between the parties involved. Generally, marital property is divided equitably and includes assets acquired during the marriage, such as the family home, vehicles, investments, and joint bank accounts. On the other hand, separate property is usually awarded to one party and typically consists of assets owned before the marriage or acquired through inheritance or gifts. Determining what assets are marital versus separate may require assistance from an attorney.
Assets may be divided equally or in a way that is deemed fair and equitable based on various factors including your state of residency. Consulting a financial advisor who specializes in divorce can be invaluable during this process. Some questions to ask regarding the division of assets may include:
- How will the division of assets and liabilities affect my long-term financial goals?
- Can you help me analyze the long-term financial impact of keeping certain assets versus accepting alternative options during the divorce settlement?
- What are the financial implications of keeping or selling the marital home?
- What should I consider when determining the value of investments, including stocks, bonds, and other assets?
- How can I protect my investments and how are any pensions, retirement accounts, or other employer benefits earned during the marriage handled during the divorce process?
- What should I know about any outstanding debts or joint liabilities with my ex-spouse?
- Are there any potential risks or consequences I should be aware of when transferring assets to new beneficiaries?
- How can I protect my retirement accounts, such as pensions or 401(k)s, from being unfairly divided?
By seeking expert advice, you can navigate the complexity of asset division with clarity and protect your financial interests throughout the process.
Divorce can bring significant changes from a tax liability perspective, and it's crucial to understand the implications on your financial situation. Following a divorce, your filing status will likely change from married filing jointly to single or head of household. This change can affect your tax bracket, deductions, and credits, potentially altering your overall tax liability. It's essential to comprehend how divorce decisions, such as the division of assets, can impact your taxes. Tax liability can change the amount of money available to you after your divorce, as certain scenarios may result in unexpected tax burdens or opportunities for tax savings.
When consulting with a financial professional during your divorce, it's important to ask specific questions related to taxes, such as:
- What are the tax implications of the settlement options I am considering?
- Are there any tax strategies I should consider during the divorce process?
- What specific tax considerations or liabilities should I be aware of when dividing assets and liabilities with my ex-spouse?
- How will my filing status change during and after the divorce, and what are the tax implications associated with each filing status?
- What are the tax implications of paying/receiving alimony or child support payments, and how should I plan for these payments?
- Are there any tax deductions or credits I may be eligible for as a result of the divorce, such as the child tax credit or child care credit? If so, what do I need to know about how to structure agreements to qualify and maximize tax credits?
- Should I consider adjusting my withholding or estimated tax payments due to changes in my financial situation during and after the divorce?
Seek guidance from a knowledgeable financial professional, so you can make informed decisions that minimize your tax burden and maximize your financial well-being post-divorce.
In the complex and emotionally-charged process of divorce, seeking guidance from a qualified financial professional is paramount to safeguarding your financial future. By asking the right questions and addressing key areas such as protecting your finances, dividing assets, and understanding tax implications, you can navigate the divorce process with confidence. At A.M. Financial, we can help you make informed decisions that align with your long-term goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.