The twelve new rules of dating
Inventory safe deposit boxes; track down bank and brokerage accounts; review pay stubs, retirement plans, and insurance policies. Don’t ignore the hidden tax costs of divorce in making these decisions.
If your spouse’s business generates a lot of cash, engage a forensic accountant to look for telltale signs of additional income. Should you take the brokerage account or the retirement plan? Your situation may require some calculation by an accountant to determine if you are really getting the best deal. During divorce, ignorance is certainly not bliss—instead, it can be very, very expensive. Doing as much as you can by yourself will help you recover more quickly from the divorce because you will have a healthy sense of control over the process, be focused on practical things, and be working with your ex to get things done.
View your attorney as a paid professional rather than a friend or confidante. Women tend to be supportive and sensitive to the needs of others, to build bridges, and to “make nice.” These tendencies often get in our way during divorce. You have to insist on getting what you need and deserve. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to take care of yourself financially. Use this time of upheaval to start taking control of your life.
When your grief is overwhelming, go home or to a friend’s house, not to your attorney, who is billing you at his normal hourly rate. Even if you hope that you will eventually be able to reconcile with your ex, don’t bend over backwards to make it happen. Vow never to worry in the dark—if you can’t sleep, turn on the light, pick up a pencil and paper, and write down your worries.
Listen to your attorney, but make your own decisions. During divorce, prepare yourself mentally for the worst that can happen. If your ex remarries within two weeks, moves to Tahiti, and/or refuses to pay any support? Divorce is an excellent time to get some career counseling at the local job center, university, or community college. Divorce can be very complicated, so don’t try to do it all yourself.
Think about Social Security: If you’ve been married nine years, you might want to stick out the last year, so you can collect on your ex’s earnings record.
In the wake of revelations of sexual harassment and abuse pouring in from survivors of Bill Gothard’s ministry, many of us are asking ourselves, “How could I not have seen this sooner?