Information To Help You Through:

Financial Threats -

By Jeff Landers

How To Cope With Your Husband's Financial Threats During Divorce

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if couples could divorce without rancor or conflict? Imagine how pleasant it would be if you and your husband could be completely open and honest, and yet remain civil and respectful throughout the divorce proceedings. You’d simply divide your marital assets and then politely part ways, each satisfied with the negotiated settlement.

Sound too good to be true?

Well, unfortunately, that scenario is too good to be true. In reality, most divorces come with a fair amount of heartache and struggle. Will you make it through? Absolutely! In fact, in many cases you can do even better than “making it through.” Make no mistake about it: There is life after divorce, and with the proper planning, your life as a single woman can be not only productive and fulfilling, but financially secure and stable, as well. Just be prepared . . . . because along the way, the ride is likely to get a bit bumpy.

As the divorce proceedings unfold, you may even find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to endure threats about your finances from your husband. Angry husbands can be prone to irrational outbursts, and over the years, it seems as though my clients have heard it all, from:

· “I’d rather give everything to my lawyer than to see you get one dime!” and
· “I’ll go to jail before I give you anything!”

To the ever-popular:

· “You’ll going to lose the kids and end up homeless!”

When said with venom and a false sense of authority, threats like these can leave you feeling scared, stressed and vulnerable. Here’s how you need to handle them:

Seek help if you are threatened with bodily harm or injury. For this article, I’m focusing on financial threats only. If you feel that you and/or your children are being threatened physically, you need to take immediate action.

Take notes. Undoubtedly, it’s not the kind of “diary” any woman wants to maintain, but keeping track of when, where and how you’re feeling threatened can serve a variety of valuable purposes. First, recording the threats makes it easier for you to share all of the specifics with your divorce team. Second, writing the threats down is likely to make them seem considerably less ominous. Your log may even enable you to detect patterns of behavior so you’ll be able to predict and better cope with your husband’s future rants.

Educate yourself. As I tell every one of my clients, the best defense is a good offense. You won’t need to concern yourself with what he says will happen when you know what the law says will happen. Arm yourself with knowledge. Understand the difference between separate and marital property. Know whether you live in a “community property” state or an “equitable distribution state.” Make sure you’re clear on how his 401(k) and other assets will be divided. Once you know the truth about details like these, you’ll feel more confident, less intimidated and better able to . . .

Distinguish idle threats from relevant risks. Yes, the vast majority of angry rants are exactly that – just rants. But you also need to realize that sometimes, a husband actually will “spend every dime.” Others will hide assets and/or cheat, lie, bribe or do whatever else they can to cut off their wives financially. So, stay vigilant. Do whatever it takes to think through things clearly. Combine the information you’ve gathered with the expertise of your divorce team to create a solid plan for your future.

Don’t respond in kind. Divorce is an intense personal struggle, and it’s only natural that it’s going to elicit strong emotions, especially concerning your children. Even so, it’s critical for you to avoid being reactive to your husband’s threats. Why say something you’ll later regret? Why risk escalating the situation, given that emotions are already running high? Keep your feelings in check. Remember: It’s essential that you Think Financially, Not Emotionally® during your divorce settlement negotiation process.

Keep your divorce team up-to-date. As I mentioned above, when you have a top-notch team of experts on your side, you have a sounding board that can help you cope with your husband’s financial threats. Whether you need legal advice, guidance from your therapist or reassurances about specific financial matters, your divorce team can help you successfully navigate the divorce landscape –especially during those times when you feel like your husband’s financial threats are beginning to steer you in the wrong direction.

Gray Divorce - The Complications Of Divorce After 50

By Shawn Garrison

Although the reasons why are unclear, the divorce rate for couples older than 50 has exploded over the last quarter-century.
Since the 1980s, the overall divorce rate has steadily declined. However, since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans older than 50 has doubled and more than doubled for those over 65. According to a report from Bowling Green State University, 1 of 4 people experiencing divorce in the U.S. is 50 or older and 1 in 10 is 65 or older.

One theory holds that couples are waiting until their children are grown before deciding to split. That way they are able to dodge all the pain and complications of child custody and child support issues. With the kids on their own, the divorce will hopefully be much simpler and less stressful.

That doesn’t always hold true, though, as “gray divorce” comes with its own host of issues to untangle.
Here are some issues you can expect to come up if you’re considering a divorce in your later years.
Asset division will be a pain.

The longer a couple stays together, the more intertwined their assets become.
It is basically impossible to determine who contributed what and when so judges often decide to split everything equally. This includes retirement accounts, inheritances, loans, etc.

It can be difficult to find adequate health insurance.
Many older divorcees are still too young for Medicare and too healthy for Medicaid. When insurance is lost as a result of divorce, it can be a huge task to find proper and affordable healthcare coverage.

Your living situation is about to get complicated.

Upon divorce, you or your spouse is going to have to leave the marital home. So where do you go?
You could move in with one of your kids, but they have their own lives and that is likely to get awkward quickly.
You could downsize and move into a smaller apartment, but that is a huge living adjustment and rent is often nearly as expensive as buying.

Buying another home might be the most ideal option, but it will likely be tough to convince a bank to grant you loan now that you are divorced and retired.

The kids are still an issue.

You might not have to worry about visitation schedules and child support, but that doesn’t mean the kids won’t play a significant role in your “gray divorce.”

Regardless of their age, it is always tough for someone to hear that their parents are splitting. In a lot of ways, it is even more confusing and world-shaking when this happens after Mom and Dad have spent several (seemingly) happy decades together.
You’re eventually going to need help taking care of yourself.

Married couples typically rely on each other for caregiving as they age and encounter more health issues.
If you divorce and never remarry, you will either have to rely on family and friends to look after you or you might have to pay for caregiving. This can be a significant expense. According to a National Alliance for Caregiving/Evercare survey, the average out-of-pocket expense for caregivers is $5,531 per year.

The risk of major financial problems increases.

Older people are already often more financially vulnerable and even more so after taking on all the costs of going through a divorce.
Close to half (45%) of adults ages 65 and older had incomes below twice the poverty thresholds in 2013. And older divorcees are likely to be even worse off as older divorced Americans have only 20 percent as much wealth as older married couples.
None of this is to say older couples should stay together if their marriage is truly broken. Divorce is sometimes unavoidable, even for Baby Boomers.

However, as with every divorce, it is crucial to consider all the possible ramifications of divorce and seek appropriate guidance so that you are financially protected for life after divorce.

Things You Should Never Say To Your Divorce Lawyer -

By Henry Gornbein

I have specialized in family law for over 40 years. I have seen almost every possible scenario, and I would like to share some things clients have said to me that often are better left unsaid. Here are some things you should never say to your divorce lawyer. In no particular order, they are as follows:

1. I don't care what it costs, I would rather give you everything than give anything to my wife/husband. The reality is that no matter what you pay, you are going to give something to your spouse. Things said in anger or in the heat of passion will be taken back later. This is especially true when a client receives my final bill. You may want revenge, but that rarely happens in a divorce. It is better to spend your hard-earned money on your family, for your children's college education, or a vacation. Divorces are expensive enough, both economically and emotionally, without adding revenge to the equation.

2. I would like to bring my "friend" with me to the interview. We have attorney/client privilege, and once you bring a third party in, whether it's a relative, a lover or whoever, the attorney/client privilege is gone. Unless a third party is officially associated with your case, there is no attorney/client privilege. If a friend or lover is in a meeting, and the case gets nasty, in the event a deposition or trial ever occurs, there is no privilege and all these secrets can spill out in a deposition or in court.

3. My friend or neighbor has told me to do this ... There is nothing worse than having all your friends and relatives -- who mean well -- give you advice. Every divorce is different. Every divorce is unique. What makes sense for your friend and relative may make no sense for you. In addition, people often tell you only part of the story. You often get a lot of misinformation from well-meaning friends and relatives. Think about this: There are at least five variables in every divorce. The first is you -- your personality, your reasons for wanting to save or end the marriage. The second variable is your spouse -- his/her personality and motivations. The third is your attorney -- the attorney's personality, motivations and experience. Fourth is your spouse's attorney. And last but not least, the fifth variable is the judge. Change any of these people and variables, and you may get a different result. For these reasons, sideline quarter backing is often very detrimental to your divorce.

4. I'm in a hurry to get this over with. Saying this immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Compromise is critical in any divorce. It is also necessary to come to a resolution. If you let your spouse know how desperate you are, and the other attorney knows that as well, then the divorce is going to cost you a lot more and you will regret it in the future. I was in court this past week on a case where my client had been in a hurry to end the marriage because of a new relationship. I have seen these scenarios time and again. In this case, the relationship is lasting, but my client has a lot of regrets and remorse over the fact that she sold herself out for far less than she might have been entitled to if she had not been so desperate to end the marriage. Don't rush. A divorce is one of the most critical events in your life, and while it is important get it over with, hurrying can be very costly. You do not want to have regrets once the divorce is final.

5. I've been promised that I will see the children more and pay less. I just have to sign the papers. Be careful. There is often a hidden motive behind a promise, and if someone told you this -- especially if this is a hotly litigated case -- there is often a hidden agenda. Remember, there is no Easter Bunny, and someone who is pushing you to sign the papers too quickly has something up his or her sleeve. This is where it is important to make sure that your attorney fully understands all the aspects of the case and is there to protect you and advocate for you where necessary.

6. Showing your biases and prejudices. I've had clients who will come to me and start using racial, religious or ethnic slurs. I think it's wrong. I think it also shows something about the person that is highly unattractive.

7. Never say never. Never say that you will not pay any spousal support. Never say that your spouse can have everything. Never say that your spouse is going to get nothing. Never say that you are going to leave your children. Every case has an upside and downside, but saying "never" is the worst thing that you can do. There are exceptions to every rule, especially in a divorce situation. Keep an open mind. Remember that your attorney is there to counsel and advise you and help you go forward as you try to rebuild your life.

What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Divorced -

By Woman's Day

Hindsight's 20/20, so there's no one better than ex-wives to tell you what to do (and not to do) if you're going through-or just contemplating a divorce. Here, real women share what they wish they'd known when they split from their husbands and divorce professionals weigh in on how to combat the most unexpected, yet most common, mistakes they've seen clients make. Rest assured, these 10 lessons can get you through the end of your marriage, both financially and emotionally. Photo by Getty Images.

1. It may take a long time to recover-and that's okay.
Julie, 50, from Denver, thought she'd be able to handle her divorce. "I'm a strong person, I own my own business and I'm a professional speaker," she says. But she admits she could barely function for a full year after the split. Her divorce recovery classes helped her realize everyone bounces back at their own pace. Psychotherapist Pandora MacLean-Hoover, who's divorced, also suggests finding a therapist who knows firsthand how vulnerable you are. "Therapists who haven't experienced divorce often create false hope," in regards to recovering quickly. "It's important to have support that's educated as well as therapeutic."

2. Choose your counsel wisely.
"I used a criminal attorney and got a poor settlement," admits Christine K. Clifford, CEO of Divorcing Divas. On the other hand, a lawyer who's well-versed in family law could get you a better settlement because she knows the state-law nuances and local judges and lawyers, says Jacqueline Newman, a partner at a boutique New York City law firm specializing in divorce. If you and your husband have complicated combined assets, you may need additional pros. Kira Brown, 34, from Phoenix, AZ, owned a business with her ex-husband and wishes she'd also hired a financial planner for help negotiating her settlement.

3. Dig deeply into your joint finances.
According to financial analyst Sandy Arons, a divorcee herself, 40% of divorce proceedings are about money. So get as much information as you can about your shared accounts to be well-informed before court. Specifically, "learn all of the online passwords to bank accounts, which accounts had automatic payments and where money is invested, including the names of all accounts, the account numbers and the investment advisors," says Newman. Ask your attorney when and how it's best to gather this info first, though.

4. Figure out your future living expenses ASAP.
Your financial well-being should be your top priority, says divorce financial expert and mediator Rosemary Frank. "Raw emotions will heal and legalities will be completed, but the financial impact of poor decisions, or default decisions due to lack of understanding, will last a lifetime," she warns. Step one: Thoroughly understand your current cost of living before the divorce proceedings start. "If you don't know what you'll need in the future, you won't be able to ask for it and you surely won't get it," she says.

5. Anticipate unexpected costs.
Even with carefully planning out your future expenses, something surprising may pop up. For example, your husband may be able to boot you from his health insurance plan, leaving you with an added cost of as much as $1,000 per month. Caitlin, 55, from Tarrytown, NY, recommends requesting a one-time payment, separate from alimony. "I asked for, and got, a check 30 days after my husband left," she says. "Too many men dodge their financial responsibilities, so waiting for that first alimony check is unwise. Try to have money available-like $5,000-within days. You'll need it."

6. Trying to hurt your ex usually backfires.
Newman says that a client of hers told her husband's boss about his affair with his secretary and ended up getting him fired. "It not only 'showed him;' it also showed the wife-and their children-what life is like on a lower salary," she says. Simply badmouthing your ex is likely to hurt your kids more than your husband, even if you don't think they hear or read what you say. "Anything written online about an ex-spouse will exist forever-when the children are old enough to read," cautions Newman.

7. Being divorced doesn't mean you're a failure, less competent or less desirable.
"Divorce used to be something people didn't do, and many considered divorced women to be 'loose' and 'scandalous,'" says two-time divorcee Jennifer Little, PhD, founder of Parents Teach Kids. Some of those stigmas still exist, she says, so remember that divorce doesn't define you. "Divorcing just means that the relationship didn't work out," she says. "You haven't been rejected as a woman or a person, nor are you incompetent at being a wife, a partner, a lover, a friend."

8. The holidays will be harder than you expect.
Amanda, 29, from Albuquerque, NM, was married for over six years until her divorce. "I wasn't prepared for the loneliness that accompanied Christmas," she says. "It amplified the concept of a broken home." She wishes she had made plans to see her mother or a friend-or taken a vacation-to take her mind off spending the holiday by herself. So make sure you stay busy during that difficult time of year.

9. Your kids won't tell you how they really feel about the divorce, but their behavior will.
"Children feel a sense of responsibility for the breakup no matter how much the parents state it wasn't about them," says marriage and family therapist Lesli M. W. Doares, author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. So monitor your kids' actions to understand how they're dealing. Watch out for little ones regressing in their behavior-acting younger, wanting to sleep in bed with you-or showing anger toward siblings and peers. Adolescents tend to act out by drinking, skipping school or disobeying curfews. To get things back on track, Doares suggests addressing issues as a family so everyone can talk about the changes together. Also, inform your child's teacher of the new situation, but don't automatically put your kid in therapy. "It can leave him feeling stigmatized or reinforce that the divorce is his fault," says Doares, though therapy's a good option if the behavior change is extreme.

10. Divorce can be freeing-and totally worth it. Annie, 47, from Boston, felt like she didn't have any talents, besides caring for her kids, before divorcing in 2007. She now has a blog,, and sees new directions her life can take. "Divorce can be the beginning of a good next chapter, even if you don't know how the book's going to end," she says. "Maybe you don't know what the options are yet, but they're out there."