The process of divorce or separation forces you to make big financial decisions at a time of intense emotional upheaval. There is an urgent need for clarity, understanding and clear planning to ensure those decisions are made well, as they could have a big impact on your future.
The financial side of divorce can be a daunting process, especially as many of us struggle to understand where our money goes at the best of times. There may be financial issues – such as pensions, investments, debts or a family business – that you have never really understood, and now decisions need to be made about how to share these. Even apparently straightforward questions, such as ‘how much do you need to live on?’ are complex when on the cusp of a big life change.
Financial coaching provides support and guidance in understanding money, and so can be particularly helpful for navigating the financial aspects of divorce and facilitating discussions between couples.
I'm also part of a group of professionals including collaborative lawyers, mediators, counsellors and financial advisors who provide an integrative approach to aid couples and individuals during a separation or divorce. Together we are known as Sussex Family Solutions. Our approach is to provide support for every aspect of your separation, including legal, emotional and financial. I'm an affiliate member of Resolution and my Wise Monkey service abides by Resolution’s Code of Practice.
Some examples of how financial coaching can help:
- Helping either or both parties prepare for the legal process by gathering together a full and complete breakdown of the relevant financial information and suggesting practical steps to help you develop budgets that reflect both current and anticipated future income and expenses.
- Working with one party who feels disempowered. Often one person in a couple has dealt with the finances and so the other may struggle to understand the implications of financial decisions, or even unsure what their lifestyle current costs, and be ill-equipped to plan their future. There can also be power imbalances in relationships, which makes one party feel unable to communicate their needs in a mediation process without additional support. Financial coaching can bring clarity and empowerment and help the legal process run more smoothly.
- Working with either or both parties, individually or together, to understand the reality of the financial situation, assess what you have and what you need to go forward. Using spreadsheets and cash flow forecasts, we can model different outcomes, helping you evaluate which options could be viable and exploring the financial implications of different possibilities.
- Working inside the legal process, as part of an interdisciplinary collaborative approach. Financial coaching can be used in different combinations with mediators, family consultants or lawyers to facilitate discussions about the finances. My role in the legal process is a ‘financial neutral’ providing generic help in both gathering and understanding financial information and future proposals.
Please note that I am not a lawyer, mediator or financial advisor. I do not offer advice on legal decisions or financial settlements. What I can offer as a financial coach is complementary to, not instead of, other professional roles in the divorce process.
In my work as a financial coach, I specialise in helping people find clarity and understanding of their financial situation.This involves taking stock of current net worth, assessing spending, facing debts, planning for the future and putting practical steps in place to address problems or meet goals. All these issues come into sharp focus when faced with the process of divorce.
Financial coaching looks at the finances from an emotionally-attuned perspective, aware of underlying emotions and beliefs that guide money behaviour, and aligning money with the bigger picture – ensuring money is supporting, not hindering, authentic life choices.
This work can empower you to navigate the best route through this difficult process, and to plan for the future that you want beyond it.
Click here to read Sarah's experience of financial coaching.