Finances. A word to strike terror into the heart, even when not divorcing!
Problems with finances in divorce can begin even before the divorce is finalised. Couples remain living together because one can’t afford to buy the other out. Separated, they live under the same roof causing difficulties and awkwardness over “passing the sugar”. Property prices are constantly rising and living together can be a practical solution. But it can muddy the waters, either allowing a friendship to remain (when you should be emotionally separating yourselves) or hostility to increase.
There can also be resentment over the split of the finances. When the woman earns nothing or less than the husband, he becomes resentful as he feels he has to give ‘his’ money to her. Meanwhile she feels vulnerable due to her lack of certainty over equal income rights – and even if she is entitled to the money she might not feel that he will hand it over. This dependence on maintenance for financial survival is scary.
Both parties may see themselves living under the railway arches at Waterloo Station, he because she has taken all his money, she because he has kept all his money, so when negotiating a financial settlement everyone gets defensive.
One tip here for negotiating is to remember the fear may be doing the talking.
If you can remember this, it makes it easier to get a clear picture of exactly what you should be negotiating about as you learn to manage your own fear and clarify the fears of your ex.
Unless you are a multi-millionaire you will find after divorce changes will need to be made. Few people have assets within a marriage to live exactly the same lifestyle post-divorce.
This means making real choices about:
- what matters to you,
- what is in line with your values and
- what is in line with your income
In this way you will be able to make choices that work for you.
Beware post-divorce of aiming to purchase things or live a certain lifestyle just because your ex has it and/or just because you want to show off to your ex. Or an alternative route sometimes taken is that you are trying to demonstrate how poor you are to make your ex feel ashamed! Another tip – you will feel poorer even if you aren’t, in dire financial straits simply because you are dealing with a loss of income and other losses such as status, companionship and changes in life expectations.
Don’t underestimate the effects of all these changes in contributing to your feelings of financial impoverishment.
It is clear that throughout the divorce process fear can be the driving motivation for negotiating a settlement. The more confident you are in your divorce strategy the less fear may guide you – so make sure when negotiating your finances that you have emotional and practical support systems in place for you throughout divorce.