No divorce is ever “easy”, but divorce from an addict can have its unique set of challenges. [Read more…]
Social media is everywhere these days. However, going through a divorce means that you may want to think twice before you hit “share”. Read on for tips to survive a divorce in the age of social media! [Read more…]
We have all heard generic advice for dealing a bully on a playground, in a classroom or in the office. “Just ignore it” and “walk away” seem to be the common wisdom, along with an occasional suggestion to stand up for yourself. But what do you do when the stakes are high, and the bully is across the table from you in a divorce negotiation? [Read more…]
Divorce is hard. It is emotional, stressful and thoroughly exhausting. Sometimes it might feel as if you are barely moving at all, other times the process is careening off-course at a scary speed. Many couples going through a divorce share a feeling of being overwhelmed and “along for the ride” – as if they have no control over what happens next.
Does that sound like you or someone you know? If so, I want you to know that there are three things you can do right now to get your divorce process back on track. [Read more…]
Because of the nature of my work with couples going through divorce, I often field the question of how to go about choosing a therapist. I have seen a good choice make a considerable difference in the clients experience, while some wrong choices have backfired with much money and time lost. So, how do you choose the right therapist to work with you during or after a divorce? [Read more…]
The last couple of weeks in December offer an opportunity for many of us to look back at 2016 and set goals and resolutions for 2017. Losing weight, asking for a raise and eating better are some of the typical examples. However, if this time of year has you going through (or contemplating) divorce, chances are your goals for the year will look quite different. Here are some ideas for resolutions that will help you through this tough time. [Read more…]
After a divorce, many Baby Boomers swear they will never marry again. Then they fall in love. In a previous post, Boomers: In your next relationship just shack up, I listed the financial incentives that are fueling the surge in seniors shacking up together. In this post, I will share tips on how to handle your finances when living in sin.
Share Household Expenses? Definitely
Many divorces are sparked by the inability to talk openly about money. In your post-divorce relationship, don’t fall into the same trap that got you into that divorce. Make it a priority to go over the money situation once a month. Share the household expenses equally or proportionately based on your respective incomes. Here’s where that joint account comes in handy to pay the bills. You each deposit your share of money to cover expenses and pay for them out of the joint account.
When I say “household expenses”, I am not talking about improvements to the house; fund those by the person who owns the house. Sharing in the cost of remodeling or major repairs can get complicated when one of you passes away first without clearly covering this situation in the estate planning documents. Again, I can refer you to excellent estate planning attorneys in the Brazos Valley.
Mingle Assets & Debt? Nope
When shacking up together, retain separate checking accounts. One joint account is fine as long as you also have your separate account. Do not apply for a joint credit card. Do not comingle debt.
Do not contribute toward the purchase of a major asset that is titled to your partner. Talking about houses, vehicles, boats, airplanes and investment accounts. Ok, if you just have to contribute, be sure your name is also on the title. If you are leasing an abode, get both your names on that lease. No exceptions. Consult with an estate planning attorney. Ask me for the best ones in the Brazos Valley. Do not get yourself into the pickle of co-owning a house with your partner’s mother after your partner tragically and suddenly drops off the perch.
Get a No-Nup? Yep
Ok, it might not be romantic, but get a no-nup anyway. This is a legal document that addresses property division, financial support and debt planning for the possibility that your relationship ends prior to either of you passing on. You want to be clear what will happen to your assets if and when the relationship ends. It is not a DIY project. You will need a family law attorney, so call me if you want recommendations.
It used to be called living in sin. It is now socially acceptable and growing by leaps and bounds among boomers. Shacking up is a popular alternative to marriage and divorce, even a nice collaborative divorce. Older people are living together for an average of nine years. Financial reasons top the list of incentives.
Loss of Income. Alimony usually stops when the recipient marries. If you have survivor’s pension benefits, you might lose those if you remarry. If you are receiving a share of your late or former spouse’s Social Security benefits, you could lose those benefits if you remarry before your 60th birthday. If you remarry after age 60 (age 50 if you are disabled), you can collect benefits on your former spouse’s record.
Potential Financial Burdens. In Texas, both spouses are on the hook for most debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of who incurred the debt. Then there is the cost of nursing homes at $5,000 a month in the Bryan College Station area. As a married couple, such costs can devastate the surviving spouse’s financial security.
Tax Disincentives. If each of you has income, as a married couple you could be thrown into a higher tax bracket. As singles living together, you each get $3,000 of capital losses to offset ordinary income, which results in an offset of $6,000 over the two tax returns. As a married couple filing with a joint tax return, you two would only get $3,000 to offset.
Estate Planning Risks. Protecting their children’s inheritance is a big reason Baby Boomers opt to cohabitate. Assure yourself and your heirs that their inheritance will remain intact. Visit with an estate planning attorney before you move in together. Contact me if you need a recommendation for an excellent estate planning attorney in the Brazos Valley.
In my next blog, I’ll give you tips for what to do and what not to do when shacking up. Do’s and Don’ts for Boomers Living in Sin
To increase your odds of getting what you want in mediation, take a tip from the Boys Scouts: Be Prepared. Most of my Brazos County divorces include mediation. When you are prepared, you have a better chance of a successful outcome.
Develop a realistic settlement range. At the low end, know what your worst-case settlement looks like. At the high end, what is your dream settlement? Calculate your break-even point. These steps will prepare you to respond to various proposals that will come from your spouse during the mediation.
Identify what is essential to discuss at mediation. Make a list. Review it with your lawyer a few weeks before the mediation. The issues don’t have to be financial. One of my clients had a strong emotional issue regarding the old videotapes of her daughter’s early childhood. The mediation did not end until she and her husband resolved the issues surrounding those tapes.
Bring your starting offer. If you initiated the divorce, come to mediation with a written offer. Get the settlement discussions started right away. Your starting offer should not be your bottom line settlement scenario. Consult with your lawyer to pull this initial offer from somewhere within your realistic settlement range.
If you are getting a divorce in Brazos County or nearby counties, I can refer you to excellent divorce lawyers and mediators.
My Houston clients will vouch that divorce is a hugely stressful experience. Most people going through a divorce can benefit from therapy.
When looking for a therapist, connection with a therapist is very important. Do not go in for one visit and expect the problem will be solved. Instead, you should feel a sense of peace in the first meeting. You want to feel a sense of where you are going with this therapist.
Divorces are crazy-making experiences. Dealing with the non-financial issues are as important as the financial issues. It is tough to make the best decisions when you feel despair, sorrow and simply the crazies.
If you want a referral to a Houston or College Station therapist with years of marital and divorce advising experience, send me an email.