While it’s true that navigating the road of divorce can be bumpy and unpleasant, I firmly believe you have within you the power to ease some of the strain. I was divorced after 24-years of marriage and I know from personal experience that going through divorce can be mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing. I’m in the financial wellness business and I identify as a “Fiscal Fitness Coach”, it allows me to be unabashedly my authentic self. By employing the coach’s mindset, I have one mission and that’s the help people to better outcomes. It means I can say whatever I believe to be true if I have conviction that it’s in the best interest of those I serve. It also means that I don’t sell anything. People can take my advice or leave it.
Although I know a great deal about financial planning and investments, it’s not the same thing as marital asset division. So, I turned lemons into lemonade by becoming a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). My practice is focused on providing clarity, comfort, and confidence in understanding the financial decisions and the impact of those decisions on people’s lives in post-divorce taking into consideration taxes, risk, liquidity, and the ability to generate income. In short, answering the question everyone asks, “am I going to be ok?”.
My job is much more than figuring out the numbers. I know I can do that. A good part of my job is to provide some perspective and assure people that they are in fact going to be ok, no matter what even though they are in a time of uncertainty.
I’d like to share some of the best advice I can give, and it has nothing to do with the financial decisions involved in the divorce process.
Let’s start with this idea, how about taking care of yourself first? You’ve spent your energy taking care of your spouse and kids. Now is the time to practice what we call self-care. You are going through challenging times, but I assure you that “this too shall pass”. It may be uncomfortable as you go through the process but believe that you will get through it and that there is sunshine on the other side of the dark cloud you may hovering over you now.
There is no limit to things you can do to steady and calm yourself. Get exercise, walk your dog, pick up your instrument that’s been in the case, create a music playlist that puts in a good place, listen to experts (YouTube) on self-help, self-actualization, and spiritual awareness, have a cup of Jasmine tea before you go to bed. My magic elixir is taking a nice bath with a glass of wine, soft music, and a magazine. You’ll sleep like a baby and that’s one thing you need right now, rest. Allow yourself to do that, if you need to sleep all day, sleep all day. Please don’t do it for 30-days straight though. If you need to have a good cry, have a good cry. My Mom taught me that it was perfectly fine to release that emotion. Divorce is a business, and the business of divorce doesn’t care about emotion. Get yourself steadied and put yourself in a position to make informed decisions rather than emotional ones. The quicker you take stock of the position you are in become informed, the quicker you will get your Mojo back.
I’m fine with any decision you make as long as you understand the impact of those decisions on your financial well-being in post-divorce. I’ve seen people do things to their long-term detriment by making a uniformed decision.
Next, I’d like to share a quote and an analogy by one of my mentors Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of the most published and renowned self-improvement authors ever. He said, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Here’s an example, when you go through divorce you can look at it like you are going to “have to” do some things. That is true, you have to make decisions, disclose things, and meet deadlines. But guess what else is true, you “get to” do some things. You get to rewrite your whole life script; you have a clean slate. How great is it that you can be the author, director, and star of your life script?
I’ve got another powerful example. Rather than looking at your divorce with feelings of pain, anger, hurt or deceit, how about looking at it with gratitude? No one deserves to be in a loveless relationship, if your partner wants to leave, was deceitful or can’t give you their all, be grateful that they are liberating you to find your happiness. It may be hard to believe, but no matter what age you are, you might find someone who will give you the love, caring and companionship that you deserve. You’ve been liberated, be grateful.
Ok, let’s talk about the financial decisions of divorce for a minute. I’d like to share what I call “The 5’isms of Divorce”. My Dad was a Colonel in the Army and he said, “son there are very few universal truths but there are a lot of general truths”.
So here are 5 – things that I think everyone should know generally about divorce:
- You are a partner in the marital enterprise – You are entitled to 50% of the was acquired during the course of your marriage, you are responsible for 50% of what was incurred during the course of your marriage. It doesn’t matter if you were the major breadwinner or the CEO of the home. The operative word being “during”, but you are a partner in the corporation of what you built as a married couple. The trick is how do you divide the assets and debts of the company in an equitable way taking into consideration taxes, risk, liquidity, and the ability to the ability to generate income.
- Everything is negotiable in divorce – The Date of Separation is negotiable, Spousal support is negotiable, Child support is negotiable, all the assets and debts are negotiable. You can negotiate buyouts, swap outs, trades, etc.
- You and your soon to be EX can agree on anything you want to agree on – absent a judge, an attorney or an advisor like me. You can agree on whatever you want as long one of you hasn’t lost their mind. Sometimes people submit that their partner has lost their mind, but they must be diagnosed as such.
- Marital Asset Division is essentially final – You can’t go back an renegotiate it unless you can prove fraud, which is timely and costly.
- You have to get it right – If marital asset division is final, you have to get it right. There are no do-overs.
Here’s more good news. There’s a 95% chance that you will reach a resolution on your own. In other words, a judge decides the terms of a divorce in only 5% of cases. I would also encourage looking at an alternative means to litigation of coming to an agreement. Collaborative divorce and mediation provide a roadmap to resolve disputes and make financial decisions amicably. These processes foster open communication, reduce legal costs, and enable individuals to take control of their financial futures. By embracing these alternative approaches, couples can transform the divorce experience into an opportunity for growth, collaboration, and long-lasting financial empowerment. You may discover the transformative power of a more amicable divorce process—one that empowers you to forge a path to financial stability and a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones. There was a bright light in you before you got married. That light is still there, you just have to find it and dust it off.
To learn more about the collaborative process click here Glenn Crawford can be reached at 424 N. Lake Ave. Suite 201, Pasadena, CA. 91214, and the office number is (818) 486-5053.