If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting divorced, have no fear because help is here!!! And taking charge of your financials is the most crucial step during all of this.
Divorce, while often times feels like a death, it is also the beginning of your new life. And while it can be scary, it can also be exhilarating and life changing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get naked in front of a new man after years of being with the same man (OMG! I know right!?). If that’s not enough to scare you into working out and staying fit, I don’t know what is!!!
As women, we often make the mistake of being too trusting or giving the proverbial “benefit of the doubt”. But in a divorce that cannon happen. In my career as a mortgage broker I have seen too many women have their credit ruined because they trusted that the ex spouse would pay the bills as agreed to. BIG BOWL OF WRONG!!
If you have not done it before, then divorce is the time to take charge of your finances. It’s vitally important to keep your credit intact and in good standing because bad credit haunts you and follows you for seven years.
Here are a few tips to keep you on track and ensure your credit does not take a beating like your poor heart has:
- Ensure that if you have joint debt (credit cards, lines of credit, etc..) that you know who is paying what. DO NOT trust your ex to pay the bills because as soon as some other woman (or man) comes along and he wants to wine and dine her, those debts take a back seat. Often the debts don’t get paid or are paid late and because you are jointly responsible, your credit takes a heard hit as well. So if you have agreed as to who is paying what debt, ensure that you have yourself removed from that joint debt as soon as you can.
- If you have a mortgage and you are both equally responsible for the payments until you either reach a settlement or sell the house, make sure that you continue to make the payments form an account you can monitor. That is, have your ex pay his share of the mortgage to you and then you pay the full amount from an account that is in your name. Recovering from a mortgage that shows late payments, NSF payment, and miss payments is a long hard process. Do not fall for the “I’m paying for my share, don’t worry”.
- Treat the divorce like a business. Get everything that you can in writing. The sooner that you hammer out an agreement the easier and quicker and most cost effective it will be. Even if you do not negotiate a separation agreement right away, ensure that you agree who is responsible for what. It is crucial to keep your credit in good standing. Divorce is already hard enough and emotionally draining without having to deal with creditor phone calls, and juggling missed payments. And try getting your own credit card with a bad credit rating; you’d likely have more success getting a sitting with the Pope than a credit card!
Look, I am not trying to scare you. I am just reminding you to embrace your independence and take care of your financial well being. Take charge of your finances! It is such an empowering feeling to be in control of your bills and your money!
If there are children involved, remember this: they are children!!! Do not make them a pawn in your divorce. Do not pit your children against one parent. It causes anxiety and confusion and they feel that they have to choose a parent and that they can’t love them both. Your children only have one childhood. Do not take that away from them. Lastly, do not talk badly about the ex in front of the children. Talk about what a “loser” or “cheat” he is over wine with friends when the children are not around. It is an unfair and stressful position to put the children in. Remember they did not choose you as parents and they are a casualty of the divorce so make sure your children know that they are loved, that they do not have to choose between the parents, and that lastly, none of this is their fault.
Finally, know this. It does get better and in time you will likely acknowledge that getting divorced was one for the best decisions that you made. When you feel yourself, faltering and feeling nostalgic and missing your ex, simply remind yourself what brought you to the position of getting divorced in the first place. Give your head a shake and snap out of it!!
Trust me; I know what I am talking about. I have lived through divorce, bankruptcy as a result of divorce, cheating, bad credit, etc…. You name it and I experienced it. My climb back out of financial ruin was a situation that I would not wish on my worst enemy…. OK, maybe one or two!
The climb out was hard. It made me who I am today (kickass ladyboss!).
I hope that sharing this information will save you some grief in your own struggle. There is life after divorce, there is love after divorce, and there is money after divorce.