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Navigating Financial Transitions: Approaches for a Smooth Transition
The divorce process begins with a period of transition where expenses still need to be shared, followed by the need to establish new services and accounts in separate names. This includes setting up utilities, streaming services, Amazon Prime accounts, cell phone plans, car insurance, managing child expenses, making individual car payments, opening new bank accounts, transferring rewards points accounts (such as hotel memberships), and more. This phase of financial transition is often fraught with stress, tension, and frustration for several reasons. The logistical load of managing these changes, coupled with the emotional toll it takes on you and your former partner, can make untangling shared accounts and finances a challenging endeavor.
In this blog post, we explore strategies that can help alleviate the burden of transitioning finances during a divorce. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate this process with greater ease, and focus on rebuilding your financial independence.
Proactively make a plan
A proactive approach is key when it comes to transitioning finances during a divorce. Couples who anticipate potential issues and create a plan ahead of time often experience a smoother transition. This entails working together to identify shared expenses through a thorough expense review. Start by creating a list of shared of expenses and the plan for moving forward. Decide whether it makes sense for one party to retain the original account and the other to open a new account or if the account should be closed and both parties open new accounts. By setting deadlines for transitioning high-priority items first and then creating a list of lower-priority items, you and your former spouse have a clear understanding of expectations and the income required to cover future expenses.
Research is often necessary to navigate the transfer of expenses, accounts, and subscriptions. For example, you may need to reach out to insurance or cell phone companies to determine the costs of separate plans.
These deadlines may align with the start of support payments, temporary orders, when the divorce is finalized, or occur at the time of one party moving out of the marital home. Taking these proactive steps allows for a more organized and informed approach to financial transition during divorce, reducing stress and resulting in a smoother process.
Collaborate with a professional
A financial professional can help facilitate the process of transitioning finances during a divorce. This expert can provide a comprehensive review of current expenses and identify specific expenses that require attention. Involving a financial professional can help provide a more objective approach, help diffuse conflicts, and assist in setting clear expectations for all parties involved. They can draft new budgets that allocate the new expenses to each individual, taking into account their respective financial situations.
Communication is key to planning and implementing your transitions while seeking to maintain a good working relationship with your spouse. For couples who are experiencing high conflict during this process and account transitions are not possible, you may want to seek legal advice. In these cases, a financial professional can assist in setting up a system to track and reimburse expenses, whether in the short- or long-term. Additionally, they can help establish a consensus on a timeline that aligns with significant milestones such as moving out, finalizing the divorce, or the start of support payments, resulting in a practical and mutually agreed-upon plan for all parties involved.
Navigating the financial aspects of divorce is undoubtedly a challenging and emotional journey. While it can be a time of excitement and newfound independence, it can also bring about high levels of tension and frustration. By combining these strategies with open and honest communication, as well as a willingness to put in the necessary work and research, you can help alleviate some of the strain during this transitional period.
Leveraging expert guidance to navigate complex financial transitions can lead to greater satisfaction with the outcomes, and a sense of control over your financial future while establishing a respectful relationship with your ex-spouse. At A.M. Financial, we understand the importance of financial stability during and after divorce. Contact us today to learn how our experienced team can assist you in working through the financial aspects of your divorce.