To Help You Through:
By Jeff Landers
How To Cope With Your Husband's Financial Threats During
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if couples could divorce without
rancor or conflict? Imagine how pleasant it would be if you and
your husband could be completely open and honest, and yet remain
civil and respectful throughout the divorce proceedings. You’d
simply divide your marital assets and then politely part ways,
each satisfied with the negotiated settlement.
Sound too good to be true?
unfortunately, that scenario is too good to be true. In reality,
most divorces come with a fair amount of heartache and struggle.
Will you make it through? Absolutely! In fact, in many cases you
can do even better than “making it through.” Make
no mistake about it: There is life after divorce, and with the
proper planning, your life as a single woman can be not only productive
and fulfilling, but financially secure and stable, as well. Just
be prepared . . . . because along the way, the ride is likely
to get a bit bumpy.
As the divorce proceedings unfold, you may even find yourself
in the uncomfortable position of having to endure threats about
your finances from your husband. Angry husbands can be prone to
irrational outbursts, and over the years, it seems as though my
clients have heard it all, from:
· “I’d rather give everything to my lawyer
than to see you get one dime!” and
· “I’ll go to jail before I give you anything!”
To the ever-popular:
· “You’ll going to lose the kids and end up
When said with venom and a false sense of authority, threats like
these can leave you feeling scared, stressed and vulnerable. Here’s
how you need to handle them:
Seek help if you are threatened with bodily harm or injury. For
this article, I’m focusing on financial threats only. If
you feel that you and/or your children are being threatened physically,
you need to take immediate action.
Take notes. Undoubtedly, it’s not the kind of “diary”
any woman wants to maintain, but keeping track of when, where
and how you’re feeling threatened can serve a variety of
valuable purposes. First, recording the threats makes it easier
for you to share all of the specifics with your divorce team.
Second, writing the threats down is likely to make them seem considerably
less ominous. Your log may even enable you to detect patterns
of behavior so you’ll be able to predict and better cope
with your husband’s future rants.
Educate yourself. As I tell every one of my clients, the best
defense is a good offense. You won’t need to concern yourself
with what he says will happen when you know what the law says
will happen. Arm yourself with knowledge. Understand the difference
between separate and marital property. Know whether you live in
a “community property” state or an “equitable
distribution state.” Make sure you’re clear on how
his 401(k) and other assets will be divided. Once you know the
truth about details like these, you’ll feel more confident,
less intimidated and better able to . . .
Distinguish idle threats from relevant risks. Yes, the vast majority
of angry rants are exactly that – just rants. But you also
need to realize that sometimes, a husband actually will “spend
every dime.” Others will hide assets and/or cheat, lie,
bribe or do whatever else they can to cut off their wives financially.
So, stay vigilant. Do whatever it takes to think through things
clearly. Combine the information you’ve gathered with the
expertise of your divorce team to create a solid plan for your
Don’t respond in kind. Divorce is an intense personal struggle,
and it’s only natural that it’s going to elicit strong
emotions, especially concerning your children. Even so, it’s
critical for you to avoid being reactive to your husband’s
threats. Why say something you’ll later regret? Why risk
escalating the situation, given that emotions are already running
high? Keep your feelings in check. Remember: It’s essential
that you Think Financially, Not Emotionally® during your divorce
settlement negotiation process.
Keep your divorce team up-to-date. As I mentioned above, when
you have a top-notch team of experts on your side, you have a
sounding board that can help you cope with your husband’s
financial threats. Whether you need legal advice, guidance from
your therapist or reassurances about specific financial matters,
your divorce team can help you successfully navigate the divorce
landscape –especially during those times when you feel like
your husband’s financial threats are beginning to steer
you in the wrong direction.
Divorce - The Complications Of Divorce After
By Shawn Garrison
Although the reasons why are unclear, the divorce rate for couples
older than 50 has exploded over the last quarter-century.
Since the 1980s, the overall divorce rate has steadily declined.
However, since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans older than
50 has doubled and more than doubled for those over 65. According
to a report from Bowling Green State University, 1 of 4 people
experiencing divorce in the U.S. is 50 or older and 1 in 10 is
65 or older.
One theory holds that couples are waiting until their children
are grown before deciding to split. That way they are able to
dodge all the pain and complications of child custody and child
support issues. With the kids on their own, the divorce will hopefully
be much simpler and less stressful.
That doesn’t always hold true, though, as “gray divorce”
comes with its own host of issues to untangle.
Here are some issues you can expect to come up if you’re
considering a divorce in your later years.
Asset division will be a pain.
The longer a couple stays together, the more intertwined their
It is basically impossible to determine who contributed what and
when so judges often decide to split everything equally. This
includes retirement accounts, inheritances, loans, etc.
It can be difficult to find adequate health insurance.
Many older divorcees are still too young for Medicare and too
healthy for Medicaid. When insurance is lost as a result of divorce,
it can be a huge task to find proper and affordable healthcare
living situation is about to get complicated.
Upon divorce, you or your spouse is going to have to leave the
marital home. So where do you go?
You could move in with one of your kids, but they have their own
lives and that is likely to get awkward quickly.
You could downsize and move into a smaller apartment, but that
is a huge living adjustment and rent is often nearly as expensive
Buying another home might be the most ideal option, but it will
likely be tough to convince a bank to grant you loan now that
you are divorced and retired.
The kids are still an issue.
You might not have to worry about visitation schedules and child
support, but that doesn’t mean the kids won’t play
a significant role in your “gray divorce.”
Regardless of their age, it is always tough for someone to hear
that their parents are splitting. In a lot of ways, it is even
more confusing and world-shaking when this happens after Mom and
Dad have spent several (seemingly) happy decades together.
You’re eventually going to need help taking care of yourself.
Married couples typically rely on each other for caregiving as
they age and encounter more health issues.
If you divorce and never remarry, you will either have to rely
on family and friends to look after you or you might have to pay
for caregiving. This can be a significant expense. According to
a National Alliance for Caregiving/Evercare survey, the average
out-of-pocket expense for caregivers is $5,531 per year.
The risk of major financial problems increases.
Older people are already often more financially vulnerable and
even more so after taking on all the costs of going through a
Close to half (45%) of adults ages 65 and older had incomes below
twice the poverty thresholds in 2013. And older divorcees are
likely to be even worse off as older divorced Americans have only
20 percent as much wealth as older married couples.
None of this is to say older couples should stay together if their
marriage is truly broken. Divorce is sometimes unavoidable, even
for Baby Boomers.
However, as with every divorce, it is crucial to consider all
the possible ramifications of divorce and seek appropriate guidance
so that you are financially protected for life after divorce.
You Should Never Say To Your Divorce Lawyer -
By Henry Gornbein
I have specialized in family law for over 40 years. I
have seen almost every possible scenario, and I would like to
share some things clients have said to me that often are better
left unsaid. Here are some things you should never say to your
divorce lawyer. In no particular order, they are as follows:
1. I don't care what it costs, I would rather
give you everything than give anything to my wife/husband. The
reality is that no matter what you pay, you are going to give
something to your spouse. Things said in anger or in the heat
of passion will be taken back later. This is especially true when
a client receives my final bill. You may want revenge, but that
rarely happens in a divorce. It is better to spend your hard-earned
money on your family, for your children's college education, or
a vacation. Divorces are expensive enough, both economically and
emotionally, without adding revenge to the equation.
2. I would like to bring my "friend"
with me to the interview. We have attorney/client privilege, and
once you bring a third party in, whether it's a relative, a lover
or whoever, the attorney/client privilege is gone. Unless a third
party is officially associated with your case, there is no attorney/client
privilege. If a friend or lover is in a meeting, and the case
gets nasty, in the event a deposition or trial ever occurs, there
is no privilege and all these secrets can spill out in a deposition
or in court.
3. My friend or neighbor has told me to do this
... There is nothing worse than having all your friends and relatives
-- who mean well -- give you advice. Every divorce is different.
Every divorce is unique. What makes sense for your friend and
relative may make no sense for you. In addition, people often
tell you only part of the story. You often get a lot of misinformation
from well-meaning friends and relatives. Think about this: There
are at least five variables in every divorce. The first is you
-- your personality, your reasons for wanting to save or end the
marriage. The second variable is your spouse -- his/her personality
and motivations. The third is your attorney -- the attorney's
personality, motivations and experience. Fourth is your spouse's
attorney. And last but not least, the fifth variable is the judge.
Change any of these people and variables, and you may get a different
result. For these reasons, sideline quarter backing is often very
detrimental to your divorce.
4. I'm in a hurry to get this over with. Saying
this immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Compromise is critical
in any divorce. It is also necessary to come to a resolution.
If you let your spouse know how desperate you are, and the other
attorney knows that as well, then the divorce is going to cost
you a lot more and you will regret it in the future. I was in
court this past week on a case where my client had been in a hurry
to end the marriage because of a new relationship. I have seen
these scenarios time and again. In this case, the relationship
is lasting, but my client has a lot of regrets and remorse over
the fact that she sold herself out for far less than she might
have been entitled to if she had not been so desperate to end
the marriage. Don't rush. A divorce is one of the most critical
events in your life, and while it is important get it over with,
hurrying can be very costly. You do not want to have regrets once
the divorce is final.
5. I've been promised that I will see the children
more and pay less. I just have to sign the papers. Be careful.
There is often a hidden motive behind a promise, and if someone
told you this -- especially if this is a hotly litigated case
-- there is often a hidden agenda. Remember, there is no Easter
Bunny, and someone who is pushing you to sign the papers too quickly
has something up his or her sleeve. This is where it is important
to make sure that your attorney fully understands all the aspects
of the case and is there to protect you and advocate for you where
6. Showing your biases and prejudices. I've had
clients who will come to me and start using racial, religious
or ethnic slurs. I think it's wrong. I think it also shows something
about the person that is highly unattractive.
7. Never say never. Never say that you will not
pay any spousal support. Never say that your spouse can have everything.
Never say that your spouse is going to get nothing. Never say
that you are going to leave your children. Every case has an upside
and downside, but saying "never" is the worst thing
that you can do. There are exceptions to every rule, especially
in a divorce situation. Keep an open mind. Remember that your
attorney is there to counsel and advise you and help you go forward
as you try to rebuild your life.
What I Wish
I Knew Before I Got Divorced -
Hindsight's 20/20, so there's no one better than ex-wives to tell
you what to do (and not to do) if you're going through-or just
contemplating a divorce. Here, real women share what they wish
they'd known when they split from their husbands and divorce professionals
weigh in on how to combat the most unexpected, yet most common,
mistakes they've seen clients make. Rest assured, these 10 lessons
can get you through the end of your marriage, both financially
and emotionally. Photo by Getty Images.
It may take a long time to recover-and that's okay.
Julie, 50, from Denver, thought she'd be able to handle her divorce.
"I'm a strong person, I own my own business and I'm a professional
speaker," she says. But she admits she could barely function
for a full year after the split. Her divorce recovery classes
helped her realize everyone bounces back at their own pace. Psychotherapist
Pandora MacLean-Hoover, who's divorced, also suggests finding
a therapist who knows firsthand how vulnerable you are. "Therapists
who haven't experienced divorce often create false hope,"
in regards to recovering quickly. "It's important to have
support that's educated as well as therapeutic."
Choose your counsel wisely.
"I used a criminal attorney and got a poor settlement,"
admits Christine K. Clifford, CEO of Divorcing Divas. On the other
hand, a lawyer who's well-versed in family law could get you a
better settlement because she knows the state-law nuances and
local judges and lawyers, says Jacqueline Newman, a partner at
a boutique New York City law firm specializing in divorce. If
you and your husband have complicated combined assets, you may
need additional pros. Kira Brown, 34, from Phoenix, AZ, owned
a business with her ex-husband and wishes she'd also hired a financial
planner for help negotiating her settlement.
Dig deeply into your joint finances.
According to financial analyst Sandy Arons, a divorcee herself,
40% of divorce proceedings are about money. So get as much information
as you can about your shared accounts to be well-informed before
court. Specifically, "learn all of the online passwords to
bank accounts, which accounts had automatic payments and where
money is invested, including the names of all accounts, the account
numbers and the investment advisors," says Newman. Ask your
attorney when and how it's best to gather this info first, though.
Figure out your future living expenses ASAP.
Your financial well-being should be your top priority, says divorce
financial expert and mediator Rosemary Frank. "Raw emotions
will heal and legalities will be completed, but the financial
impact of poor decisions, or default decisions due to lack of
understanding, will last a lifetime," she warns. Step one:
Thoroughly understand your current cost of living before the divorce
proceedings start. "If you don't know what you'll need in
the future, you won't be able to ask for it and you surely won't
get it," she says.
Anticipate unexpected costs.
Even with carefully planning out your future expenses, something
surprising may pop up. For example, your husband may be able to
boot you from his health insurance plan, leaving you with an added
cost of as much as $1,000 per month. Caitlin, 55, from Tarrytown,
NY, recommends requesting a one-time payment, separate from alimony.
"I asked for, and got, a check 30 days after my husband left,"
she says. "Too many men dodge their financial responsibilities,
so waiting for that first alimony check is unwise. Try to have
money available-like $5,000-within days. You'll need it."
Trying to hurt your ex usually backfires.
Newman says that a client of hers told her husband's boss about
his affair with his secretary and ended up getting him fired.
"It not only 'showed him;' it also showed the wife-and their
children-what life is like on a lower salary," she says.
Simply badmouthing your ex is likely to hurt your kids more than
your husband, even if you don't think they hear or read what you
say. "Anything written online about an ex-spouse will exist
forever-when the children are old enough to read," cautions
Being divorced doesn't mean you're a failure, less competent or
"Divorce used to be something people didn't do, and many
considered divorced women to be 'loose' and 'scandalous,'"
says two-time divorcee Jennifer Little, PhD, founder of Parents
Teach Kids. Some of those stigmas still exist, she says, so remember
that divorce doesn't define you. "Divorcing just means that
the relationship didn't work out," she says. "You haven't
been rejected as a woman or a person, nor are you incompetent
at being a wife, a partner, a lover, a friend."
The holidays will be harder than you expect.
Amanda, 29, from Albuquerque, NM, was married for over six years
until her divorce. "I wasn't prepared for the loneliness
that accompanied Christmas," she says. "It amplified
the concept of a broken home." She wishes she had made plans
to see her mother or a friend-or taken a vacation-to take her
mind off spending the holiday by herself. So make sure you stay
busy during that difficult time of year.
Your kids won't tell you how they really feel about the divorce,
but their behavior will.
"Children feel a sense of responsibility for the breakup
no matter how much the parents state it wasn't about them,"
says marriage and family therapist Lesli M. W. Doares, author
of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. So monitor your kids' actions
to understand how they're dealing. Watch out for little ones regressing
in their behavior-acting younger, wanting to sleep in bed with
you-or showing anger toward siblings and peers. Adolescents tend
to act out by drinking, skipping school or disobeying curfews.
To get things back on track, Doares suggests addressing issues
as a family so everyone can talk about the changes together. Also,
inform your child's teacher of the new situation, but don't automatically
put your kid in therapy. "It can leave him feeling stigmatized
or reinforce that the divorce is his fault," says Doares,
though therapy's a good option if the behavior change is extreme.
Divorce can be freeing-and totally worth it. Annie, 47, from Boston,
felt like she didn't have any talents, besides caring for her
kids, before divorcing in 2007. She now has a blog, PlentyPerfect.com,
and sees new directions her life can take. "Divorce can be
the beginning of a good next chapter, even if you don't know how
the book's going to end," she says. "Maybe you don't
know what the options are yet, but they're out there."