Is retirement possible, post-divorce?

“Can you take all these numbers off my plate for me?”

Divorcing women typically approach me with what you might call the Three Big Questions:

  • What do we have?
  • What do we owe?
  • How much will I get?

These are all numbers questions. Which is my specialty; after all, I’m a CPA, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional.

Most people are not numbers nerds like me. To the contrary: Many people freeze up, or glaze over, at the sight of columns of numbers in an Excel spreadsheet or tax return. If you’re one of these people (i.e., the majority), don’t despair. I’m here to help.

Which gets to the bigger question here, and the true impetus for this article: Many women don’t want to look at numbers at all. I’d say that about 75 percent of the women I work with (assuming I start with them at the AFI [Affidavit of Financial Information] stage) want me to simply “take this off their plate” for them. And I’m happy to do so.

So let me give you a little insight into how I would work with you, if you should choose to work with me.

Finding what’s hidden

Let’s start with the AFI. It’s the bedrock of the divorce case. And you need to populate this little form with every expense you’ll have, post-divorce. I often help with this:

  • I’ll pull six months’ worth of credit-card statements and analyze them.
  • I’ll do the same with bank statements.
  • I’ll add those little annual “one-off’s” that you might well overlook, such as Christmas gifts, automobile registration, and so on.

Now let’s move on to—uggh—taxes.

For many of my divorcing-women clients, they never even see the tax return. They’ll tell me “My husband always had me sign the e-file page.” But that’s not the return itself. if you don’t have a copy, the tax return will be requested, by your attorney, in the discovery phase of the process.

But what if the husband is dragging his heels? Well, I can (with your permission) ask the IRS for copies of those returns that the husband doesn’t feel like turning over.

And that’s not all.

Many divorcing women suspect that their husbands aren’t exactly forthcoming when it comes to providing financial information. Well, think of me as “CSI: Scottsdale” in that case:

  • His tax return would show “dividends.” That means “there’s an investment.”
  • It would also show any “capital gains.” That means “he sold something.”
  • If would reveal pension information, and Social Security.

But what about stuff that’s not on the dreaded 1040 form? I can get that, too:

  • I can (again, with your permission) pull a credit report on the husband. This can show any open credit accounts.
  • I can review credit-card statements and search for “community waste,” e., community funds being spent to your detriment.
  • I can scrutinize the husband’s W-2 pay stub (another standard “discovery” item) for deferrals, employee stock purchase plans, life insurance, you name it.

Trust me. There’s a paper trail for every transaction. I’ll find them for you.

And you don’t have to sweat—or even look at, if that’s your preference—the numbers. I’ll just stack them up neatly, for you and your attorney, so you have the strongest, most bulletproof settlement proposal going forward.

Contact me and let’s discuss your needs.