Let’s face it — money can cause emotions to soar and plunge. Yet strategic financial decisions are best made in the absence of emotion. Thus, a woman going through divorce must learn how to separate her emotions from the financial issues facing her divorce.
I recommend that a woman build two separate support teams that she can access throughout her divorce: One to help her process her emotions, and the second to strategize financial decisions.
The importance of having separate teams is that it requires you to stay focused and not drift into emotion or seek counsel from unqualified people on important financial matters. It's highly damaging to call a friend with no financial experience who feels sorry for you and starts telling you to take your soon-to-be ex to the cleaners. That kind of attitude can cause you to wrack up legal fees and cause dissension with your ex.
I recommend that, as emotions flare up, the woman call on her emotional support team (like a best friend, mom, therapist, pastor, or rabbi). Conversely, when she is called to make financial decisions, she turns to her CPA, a divorce financial planner, a friend who is great with finances, or even a pastor. The key is to keep them separate.
Learning to identify your emotions is a real skill, and it is imperative to be able slow down when you are sad about the impending change in quality of life, scared about going back to work, or angry about the debt he accumulated or investments he lost. When you feel these feelings, STOP and write in your journal, meditate, or call on your emotional support team.
Moreover, get some rest before resuming you strategic financial planning. It's extremely confusing and exhausting to try to make smart financial decisions with someone who is angry or sad due to lack of sleep. It is difficult to stay on topic, and your professionals will become impatient with you (and can even charge you additional fees for their time).
Marriage is a serious, legal, contractual agreement. Interestingly enough, while the promises of fidelity and lifetime commitment can be broken and abandoned in an instant, the financial agreements entered into during marriage can remain binding even after the divorce. That is why financial professionals beseech women (and men) to think through the financial aspects of a marriage before the ceremony. Likewise, the decisions you make today in your divorce will affect your life for years to come. Working calmly and unemotionally to get your financial needs met will lead to better decisions, and likely foster a better relationship with your ex.