Guest article from MINES’ Trainer and Financial Coaching Partner Michelle Vullo
Utilize Mines’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) financial counseling benefits for free help. Your EAP can connect you with a financial counselor to help you at every step of the process. The financial counselor can help you to gather necessary financial information, explain your options, and help you to strategize.
2. Take inventory of your finances. Make a list of your assets, debts, income, and expenses. You will need this information throughout the divorce process so the more you know about your financial situation, the better. If this step is overwhelming or intimidating, a financial counselor can help.
3. Understand your cash flow. Make a list of income and expenses and be as thorough as possible. Be sure to look through credit card statements and bank account ledgers so you can include yearly and one-time expenses such as children’s sports and pet emergencies. Knowing how much of a cash flow excess or shortfall you will have is useful during negotiations.
Account for all assets and debts. Be sure to include often-overlooked assets such as long-forgotten bank accounts, retirement plan accounts held by previous employers, and employee stock options, and note your assets prior to marriage. As for outstanding debts, check your credit report to identify any old, unpaid accounts. Typically, assets and debts incurred during the marriage are split 50/50 but when one person isn’t aware of all the assets or debts, the other party may gain an unfair advantage.
Think about what is most important to you. Be prepared to negotiate parenting time, division of assets and debt, and the length and amount of spousal maintenance. Make a list of what you need as well as any concessions you’re willing to make, for example, if keeping the house is important to you, you may have to forgo a portion of other assets such as retirement funds in exchange for keeping the house.
Recognize that keeping the family house may be challenging. Staying in the house is not always as easy as it sounds. Often, there may not be enough combined liquid assets to allocate to the other party as compensation for the home equity, which necessitates the sale of the shared home. In addition, if you keep the house, you would most likely have to refinance, but in order to qualify for the refinance, the lender will consider just your income. Even if you qualify for the loan, your new payment may be higher than your previous payment. Before you negotiate yourself into a stressful position, run the numbers to make sure you can afford and qualify for a new, higher mortgage payment.
Don’t forget to tie up the loose ends. After all is said and done, be sure to change your will, adjust your insurance coverage, and change your beneficiaries on all your financial accounts so that your wishes are reflected. It is vital that you take care of yourself and use all available resources to help reduce your stress and stay financially strong during a divorce.
To Your Wellbeing,
-The MINES Team
If you have financial concerns due to a divorce, MINES can help. Michelle Vullo, is an Accredited Financial Counselor with Enrich Finances. She provides free financial counseling sessions for employees eligible for MINES and Associates’ EAP services. Call MINES at (800) 873-7138 or visit online and request sessions with Michelle at Enrich.