Regardless of who filed, many women feel overwhelmed as they begin to gather financial statements and documents. The more they learn about their financial status, the more embarrassed and ashamed they feel. They may even feel defeated.
The first onset of emotions often stems from not being involved in the financial landscape during the marriage. I work with women to help them step-by-step through that process to ensure they move out of the feeling of embarrassment and shame and into a place of feeling empowered on their journey through divorce.
Here are five ways to help rise above overwhelm, take action and reclaim your power.
Engage in the ongoing process of gathering information. If women experience roadblocks from their spouse during this process, there are two options. The first option is to hire an attorney that will activate the legal process to formally request information. The second option is to hire a financial private investigator who can be used in conjunction with or independent from an attorney.
Organize the information in a way that allows you to swiftly access the data to prevent confusion from setting in. Creating a system that works for you will help clear the fog and bring clarity and accuracy to the current picture. This will be helpful when meeting with the attorney, completing the financial disclosure documents, and even attending mediation.
Set boundaries around the day-to-day finances. This begins with identifying who will pay for what during the divorce process. A family law attorney can draft a document that sets the ground rules for financial conduct. However, it is up to you to help hold your soon-be-to ex accountable. Don’t rely solely on the court system to monitor this activity. Be sure to use your voice to speak up about financial behaviors that aren’t in alignment with the agreement.
Get clear on your values, desires and expectations. Take time to write down what is important to you. Create two columns: Non-Negotiable and Negotiable. Stick to those Non-Negotiable items and remember to let go of anything that shows up under the Negotiable column.
Stop apologizing for what you don’t know. Make sure your communication is in alignment with your list of negotiable and non-negotiable items. A great strategy is to use the assertive communication formula. It sets the stage for creating a win/win and an environment of respect. For example, I feel ________ when ______. This is great when communicating with your attorney, your team and your ex-spouse. This simple formula can be used to address challenging behavior as well as affirm positive behavior
As you move into divorce, your financial situation tends to move out of the fog and into clarity. Once you have clarity you can take empowered actions. I work with women who are facing divorce. My passion is to help them go from financial self-sabotage to financial self-confidence. It is important to take one step at a time. These five steps will help reduce overwhelm and empower you on your journey. If you need additional support about your financial picture, visit our Divorce Conversations podcast at https://www.womensfinancialwellnesscenter.com/podcast.