The most publicized images of divorced women are of those who have benefited from divorce. No foul was called when Juanita Jordan dribbled away from Michael Jordan with $168 million. Ivana Trump sits pretty at the former couple’s $14 million Connecticut estate (people.com). “I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger,” as Kanye West would say, but it’s rumored his divorce from Amber Rose inspired the infamous tune contributing to society’s perception of women benefiting from the wealth of their former spouses and running off to live a life of comfort and luxury.
Gender knows no bounds when it comes to a costly divorce. Britney Spears paid a massive $20k in monthly support to her ex-husband Kevin Federline, Janet Jackson paid $15 million to Rene’ Elizondo in 1999 despite the signed prenup, and Madonna paid over $75+ million to Guy Ritchie. (ABC News) Divorce is common and happens to many individuals, a good deal can be learned from these celebrity divorce experiences.
The Role of Gender in Divorce and Finances
Unlike the image, the media portrays women statistically end up dealing with a more drastic lifestyle change after divorce. In contrast, to the public’s view, women often bear the financial brunt of divorce. Research from the London School of Economics found women who worked prior to, during, and after their marriages experienced a 20% decline in income post-divorce. While men, on average, experienced an increase of 30% or more in their income post-divorce. However, this does not have to be the case. With the right advice from the right professionals, women can obtain financially fair divorce settlements.
That’s when I come in! A deliberately selected divorce team will help you navigate divorce successfully. Friends and family are not therapists, a therapist is not a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® Professional, and a CDFA® is not a lawyer. Each team member is specialized in a different aspect of divorce, and it’s important they are not expected to fill each others’ roles.
Jennifer Aniston touts about leaning on therapy through her divorces with both Brad Pitt and Justin Theroiux. She gave the readers of Glamour Magazine advice, “Go to therapy…Clean up all of the toxins and the noise. Understand who you are. Educate yourself on the self… You can undo a lot of things. If you’re not happy, you can become happy.” Divorce causes a roller coaster of emotions and rarely goes as expected, even the most amicable of divorces can involve clouded judgment. A therapist may be crucial to the emotional wellbeing of divorcing women and can also serve as a neutral sounding board to help women from making ill-informed, not emotionally charged financial decisions regarding the divorce.
A new bathroom cabinet may be a fun DIY project, but it may not be wise to DIY a divorce. I suggest hiring an attorney with the education and experience to be a trusted guide. Lawyers are trained and educated to provide the information necessary to protect client rights and limit responsibilities during divorce. It is imperative for women to walk away from a divorce with a clear and binding agreement free of errors or ambiguous language. A lawyer should ensure there is no confusion when it comes to splitting up the assets.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® Professional
A CDFA® works with the lawyer to determine the financial impacts of different allowances and concessions. Lawyers are not financial experts. While an attorney can negotiate for what appears to be the best deal on its face, a CDFA® professional provides the perspective to analyze the long-term and tax-related effects of various pieces of a divorce settlement. A CDFA® professional will help organize all of the financial documents, identify hidden or unreported marital assets, and clarify the most cost-effective division of assets. Their role is to serve as protection for both the client and the attorney against costly financial mistakes.
Certain divorces may also require:
Business Appraiser: Assists with the evaluation of the family owned business. This should be a neutral party to avoid overvaluing or undervaluing as a favor to either party.
Realtor: Assists in the sale of marital property and the purchase of a new residence. Realtor.com reported on real estate investor and HGTV Flip or Flop star, Christina Haak, stating she did it right by selling her home for an astonishing profit of over $1 million during her split with Ant Anstead.
Women going through divorce are not alone. Not all the Real Housewives of Dallas still have their wedding bands on. Kary Brittingham opened up about her divorce to People Magazine stating, “I’m definitely very scared,” she said. “It’s a very scary time. I didn’t want to fail at anything.” A deliberately selected divorce team can turn divorce into a journey of self-empowerment while helping achieve the best outcome based on personal needs.