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Replace emotional distress with financial savvy in a divorce

Divorce takes a financial toll on everyone, but especially on middle-aged women.

If you are a member of this group, keeping the goal of a secure financial future firmly in your sights may help mitigate the emotional distress of divorce.

The over-50 outlook

Divorce for people 50 or older is becoming much more common than it was even a decade ago. Women feel the impact emotionally and socially, but especially financially. For older women, there is not as much time left to start a new career or create a secure income flow from some other source. Ironically, women usually live longer than men and have a greater need for financial support later in life.

A businesslike view

Your first task as an older woman parting ways with her spouse is to think of the divorce in terms of a business venture. Your top priority is to emerge from the process with a financial future that is as secure as possible. To this end, you must consider liquid as well as illiquid assets that will become the focus of the property division phase. For example, do you want to retain possession of your home? Most women do. However, in addition to mortgage payments, if applicable, there are property taxes to consider, along with ongoing upkeep. This would reduce your cash flow, so you have to consider the effect on your monthly income.

Tax issues

Ask for legal guidance concerning the taxes associated with assets you are interested in receiving in the divorce settlement. Depending on the answers, you may want to revise your wishlist.

Returning to work

Even if you are set to receive spousal support following the divorce, consider rejoining the workforce in some capacity while you still can. Work toward doing something you will enjoy, something that is not just a job. Be practical. In addition to providing additional income, returning to work can be rewarding.

Come prepared

Show your financial savvy by preparing well for the divorce. Copy financial statements and at least three years of past tax returns. Add these to a list of assets when you meet with your family law attorney. Maintaining a business-like approach to the divorce process will be a great help in controlling the emotional impact of ending your marriage.

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