For an Indian family, divorce is deemed to be devastating & something that shatters both the families and each of their lives. Someone at the early stage of divorce usually goes through a lot of emotional turmoil & mixed bag of feelings like anger, loss, shock, numbness, betrayal confusion, panic –or a combination of them all.
Nevertheless, eventually these emotions will stabilize and the turbulent phase will cease to exist, as you start figuring out the bright, new future as a single woman. Your life is definitely going to change and it’s better to embrace it. This time you need to take hold of your own personal finances, need to keep eye on your income, expenses and debt (if any). Paying your bills, saving and investing for your retirement, planning for school/college for your children, designing a long term goal will be your sole responsibility. Fortunately or unfortunately this time there would not be anyone else to bear the same.
Although so many responsibilities in one go seem to be unnerving, but be assured: You can do it and nothing is impossible! You just need to take slow and steady steps, and eventually you will realize how much empowering it is to be in control of your financial portfolio. You may opt for assistance of an experienced & trained financial advisor. Living within your means with careful and conservative investments is the key to make your divorce settlement last as long as it possibly can.
Below are the few factors you need to consider after divorce settlement is done:
Update accounts. On changing the surname after divorce, one needs to modify a number of documents which include driver’s license, passport and credit cards. Notifying certain institutions like bank, utilities, insurance companies, credit card companies, the motor vehicle department, school(s), college(s) etc. about any change of name and/or address is mandatory.
Develop a comprehensive financial plan. Crafting a lucid monetary plan with a clear understanding of the funds that came into the marriage (income) and funds that went out (expenses) is desirable. A list of monthly expenses like electricity bills, car maintenance, mortgage, EMI etc should be maintained separately.
Build your credit. For a better financial portfolio and secured loans in your name in the future, building a sound credit history is necessary. This will be convenient for those owing one credit card, otherwise this is a time consuming process which requires multiple docs.
Remember: The financial advisor, to be deployed for managing money and investing at right ventures, must understand the stark difference between a divorced woman and a married couple and should have an idea to manage your money and invest on your behalf.
He must have sound knowledge about Budgeting, Retirement planning, Asset protection and insurance, Estate planning, Investments, College savings.
You may add other experienced professionals to your post-divorce team. In addition to an experienced financial planner, I believe most post-divorce women can benefit from the assistance of:
- An estate-planning attorney.Assisting you with your estate planning needs and the legal issues concerning your will, medical directives, trusts, charitable giving, etc.
- A therapist or counselor.Helping you to cope with the emotional challenges associated with starting your life as a single woman.
- A vocational counselor.Guiding you through career path after a massive change in life.
Check and double-check to make sure you’ve completed everything on this post-divorce “To Do” List:
- Do obtain a copy of your certified divorce decree. You may make extra copies to store them in a secure location.
- Immediately close any joint credit accounts.
- Tactfully remove your husband’s name and/or change your name/address on all remaining accounts, including Bank, brokerage and investment accounts, Credit cards, Driver’s license, automobile title, registration and insurance policies, Employer’s records, Life, health, homeowner’s and disability insurance policies, Professional licenses, Title to real property, Utility bills etc.
- Open a new bank account for establishing direct deposit or income withholding for child support, spousal support and/or alimony payments.
- For a fair credit history, open a new credit card account and request a copy of your credit report.
And above all, don’t forget to enjoy every bit of your new life! Firm plan and foresightedness for future help in boosting self-confidence. Then, you’ll be able to set new goals and achieve even more.