finances

In the process of pursuing a divorce, it's important not to lose sight of the forest of your future life for the trees of the ongoing adversarial litigation. Part of that forest -- a rather significant part, in fact -- is your future financial life.

Marriage often brings with it an intertwining of separate and often already-complex financial realities -- debts and assets -- and couples generally work hard to build on that combined foundation, creating what's called the marital estate during the life of the marriage. All these aspects of your joint financial life must then be untangled and separated during the divorce to leave each party ready to move forward their respective individual lives.

But frequently, I find clients are so intently focused on the process of separating out and dividing the existing financial elements that they forget to take a look at their future financial realities.

A recently published article from Forbes is an excellent place to start: "Seven Must-Do Steps for Women Who Want Financial Stability Post-Divorce." Although it's targeted to women, I think much of the advice is generally sound for both genders.

I would stress, though, that this kind of financial awareness and attention isn't solely for wealthy individuals. Often, the less stability you have financially, the more you need to work through your new financial reality, perhaps with the assistance of an advisor. Your attorney should be able to recommend a qualified, reputable financial advisor suitable for your situation.

The author of this piece, Jeff Landers, heads a consulting firm, Bedrock Divorce Advisors, which works with divorced women and their attorneys in the course of the marital litigation. He also works with Bedrock Divorce Fund for Abused Women, Inc., whose mission is to help abused women successfully and permanently leave their abusers.

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