Divorcing? The Right Way to Split Retirement Plans

This is a great article explaining the split of retirement plans when divorcing. Many people do not realize that when it is split you do not have to pay the penalty fee or taxes if it is done properly. Ensuring that you do it correctly is key. Working with a qualified financial planner is the best way to make the transition. There are financial planners that have the designation CDFA, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. It would behoove you to see one out. For those in Columbus, we like Lis Spaine, from The Arlington Group. I would also suggest that the divorcing parties use different planners. Although they are all bound legally by confidentiality, you are more likely to be honest if you are not sharing. If you are the one needing to find one, let us know. We can help.


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Homeseller Tips to Get Ready For Inspection, by Realtor Katie Conway

Depending on your situation and home, I sometimes recommend a pre-inspection to my sellers. If you know you need to sell your home fast and don’t want to get caught up in a contentious request to remedy situation, then spend a couple hundred dollars and get your house inspected prior to listing. This way, you will know what to expect when a potential buyer has your house inspected. Your inspection report allows you to proactively fix or remedy any red flags prior to putting the house on the market.

Once you have an offer on the table, the buyer has time to inspect the home and submit a request to remedy. A home inspection checklist is essential when selling a home. While the inspection is an important part of the home buying process, it is equally as important for sellers to also prepare. What can you do as a seller to help the inspection process go smoothly? Here are five top tips from Realtor.com to keep in mind:

  • De-clutter. You’ll want to make sure the inspector can easily access the area beneath your bathroom and kitchen sinks and the areas around your hot water heater, furnace and any major appliances.
  • Clean your home. A clean and tidy home makes a better impression than one that’s a mess.
  • Provide paperwork. Create a file detailing all maintenance and repairs you’ve completed on your home over the years, including any inspections of important components such as your furnace or chimney.
  • Provide access. Make sure your inspector can get into any locked rooms or exterior storage buildings as well as the attic or other storage areas.
  • Leave your home. Inspectors find it easier to do their work with the homeowners, children and pets around.

If you have any questions on how to best prepare your home to sell, give me a shout. I would love to help. www.KatieConwayHomes.com or 614-506-0588.

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Need to rent, but want to buy? Check out how you can do both…

When contemplating or finalizing divorce, the marital residence is usually at the center of discussion. More than likely this is the largest combined asset, but it is also a large liability. Not many people can divorce and maintain two equally costly households. Decisions have to be made, emotions are high and if kids are involved no one wants to move. Finding the best solution isn’t always easy, but the first step is to try and take the emotion out and put reality in. Helping both parties understand the financial implications of the primary residence is important. How much is the mortgage, utilities, taxes and yearly maintenance. Not to mention, saving for an emergency. Home ownership can be costly if you are unaware or not prepared for all that goes with it.

Often times it makes financial sense that one of the two divorcee’s rent for a period of time rather than jump into another mortgage. Columbus is bustling with new apartment concepts that offer community, well being and accessibility. Finding the right one that fits your needs is key. If you have pets, kids or work from home a larger unit with activities, gym and possibly a pool may be a must for you.

Temporarily renting can be a great option to help get you back on your feet. Many new apartment concepts offer the feel of community, incorporating a gym, restaurants, coffee bars and common areas that encourage resident conversations and entertainment. Renting can also help establish credit for someone that doesn’t have any and now it can even help you save for home ownership. Kaufman Development’s new Gravity Project, offers renters an option to earn back 2.5% of their rent to save for a down payment on home ownership. What a great way to get back on your feet right off the bat. Take a look at their project and see if this might be a great place to call home while you build yourself some savings and stability.

Gravity Project in the news.

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Bite your tongue I say…

It was this month 33 years ago that my parents sat my sister and I down and said they were getting divorced. As a 3rd grader, I was sort of sure what this meant but not entirely. I remember night being chilly and our paper boy came to collect money during this pivotal point in our family. Through tear damp eyes my dad asked him to come back another time. Why I remember that little detail and not many others I will never know.

Going to my Catholic School the following day I prayed that no one would ask me where my dad was. Why they would ask me this, since they never had before I did not know, but that’s all I could focus on. That somehow someone would notice my dad not being around and ask me for some sort of explanation. An explanation that I myself could not give. I didn’t know what the future would hold, but the thing I did know was that I was terrified. There was only one other kid I knew at school whose parents were divorced and I didn’t want to stand out as different.

Fast forward 33 years, 2 half siblings, one step mother and numerous counseling sessions later (and yes I am skipping the bulk of the story as this could take a book not a blog). Things have mellowed, but have never been ideal and the constant mental exercises that I still go through with both parents are exhausting. Every divorce is different, that is for sure. My parents divorce was anything but civil and there were many years of court appearances, appeals and frustration.

I grew up constantly second guessing myself, worried how my actions would be interpreted, not knowing how much to share, worried about hurting someones feelings…being told how I am supposed to feel. It is a lot, it is too much and it is exhausting. Even the best intending parents put their kids in the middle at some point. Whether it’s some opinion they utter or some statement they make off the cuff about the ex-spouse’s friends or family. These scenarios form who the children become and how they engage in their own relationships. No matter how hard it is, keep the kids out of it. If it truly isn’t their fault, don’t offer your opinion when they are complaining just listen and validate their feelings, bite your tongue when a spouse does something completely idiotic. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and it all comes out in the wash. Focus on the children, not the divorce, most of the time they don’t need to know the intimate details of the marriage and failure thereof. What they do need is love, consistency and support. Trying to keep their lives as “normal” as possible just might help take your mind off wanting to make your ex-spouse look like the villain. No one is perfect and pointing fingers doesn’t make the situation any better.

Children don’t know what they don’t know so you don’t have to fill their head with things they can’t understand or sort out. If the divorce is truly not their fault, then take the high road and don’t talk to them about your ex or soon to be ex, they clearly can’t offer any insight. Before saying something disparaging, maybe ask yourself this question “what do I want them to do with this knowledge” if it is self serving, then bite your tongue and ask about their day instead.

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Telling your kids about divorce

Our last blog was a personal account of remembering the day that I was told by my parents that they were divorcing. We came across this amazing article that talks about how important this story is to your children. It also references so amazing parenting books that are not necessarily divorce related but are good resources. Everyone has a story and I can only surmise that it has had a profound effect on them. This article gives great advice on when you are the ones telling the story, so that your kids story is a little less detrimental.


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5 Steps to Prepare Emotionally and Financially for a High Net Worth Divorce

Published by our friend Lis McNealey Spaine, The Arlington Group

High net worth divorce can be draining, scary, complex and stressful. It’s crucial to maintain your emotional composure and have a clear sense of your financial affairs in preparation of the divorce. You must know the state of your assets in detail in order to protect them throughout the process. To help you successfully transition through this difficult process I have provided five key steps to successfully manage a high net worth divorce.

The 5 Steps:

1. Get all your financial asset records together It is important to put documents in files that show what is individual property and what is shared property. Individual property refers to property acquired prior to the marriage, while shared property refers to assets obtained during the marriage. Documents you may need include investment account records, trusts, receipts and financial statements, deeds to real estate, and insurance policies.

2. Stay Calm and Organized Staying calm and organized is essential to protecting your assets during a high net worth divorce. You need to be able to get access to all your financial information immediately. All your documents need to be filed, labeled and kept in a safe location.

3. Be very clear of Attorney costs It’s important to stay informed and aware of any and all attorney charges throughout the process. Know how much the divorce is costing you the entire time.

4. Be in the know about your spouse’s debts Know all the details about your spouses; assets, debts, credit score and income. In divorce all assets and debts are divided in various measures. It is important to be aware of these numbers and to plan accordingly.

5. Contact Our top ranked Certified Divorce Financial Analysts Typically In high net worth divorce cases it takes a team to help a client successfully come out in the best shape in a high net worth divorce. Of course hiring an attorney is very important. An attorney can work with an accountant, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst financial to help you gather important records, and analyze your financial situation for the future after divorce is over.

If You Are Preparing for a High Net Worth Divorce, The Arlington Group is ready to help.

Call or Email Lis.Spaine@wfafinet.com to learn more or to get our free financial consultation.

614.388.8420 | | www.thearlingtongroup.com

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A journey through divorce with the help of DivorceCare

By Dave Kuta, Vineyard Columbus

Divorce.  It sucks.

Wish I had a better word for it than “sucks”.  Unpleasant?  Doesn’t really capture the essence for me.  Heartbreaking?  Yes, but that’s only a part of the story in many cases.  Hurtful?  Lousy?  Unacceptable?  Sad?  Awful?  Dreadful?  Atrocious? (thank you thesaurus.com)   Nope…none of those really do it for me.  Divorce sucks.

There are elements of heartbreak, shame, uncertainty, fear of the future, questioning, anger, depression, and a bunch of other things all rolled into one.  I know.  I have been divorced, and I went through all of those.

I also did some things to try to cope with the divorce…mostly really stupid things.  I drank a lot to forget my pain.  I isolated myself because I just didn’t want to see people and try to put on a happy face in front of them.  I told almost no one, and I lived in denial for several months, thinking maybe she would come back and it would all be ok.

How I wish I had known about DivorceCare!

DivorceCare is a faith-based, 13 week support group for people in any stage of divorce, whether separated, in the middle of the process, or even those that have been divorced for a while but are still struggling with the effects of it.  Each week covers a different topic, like loneliness, anger, financial survival, how to care for your kids during a divorce, forgiveness, and growing closer to God.  There is a short video that is played each week (about 35 minutes) where experts share their thoughts on the subject.  The group spends the rest of the time discussing questions based on the video.  We often end with time for prayer.  Even though it is a faith-based group, you do not have to be a Christian to join a DivorceCare group.  Most of the principles will apply to anyone going through a divorce.

I have led several DivorceCare groups now, and the response from the participants has been very positive.  So much healing can take place just being around other people who are going through what you are.  I’ve watched people in a DivorceCare group encourage each other, offer practical wisdom, pray for each other, empathize with each other, and even cry with each other.  So often we feel alone in our journey, but I can assure you that you are NOT alone!  Join a DivorceCare group, and experience the healing for yourself!

My church (Vineyard Columbus) offers DivorceCare groups typically at least twice a year, but there are several other churches in Columbus that offer DivorceCare groups as well.  To find groups close to home at a time that is convenient for you, please check out the website; DivorceCare.org; and you can locate a group that is right for you.

 If I had found a DivorceCare group after my divorce, I think I would have avoided most of the dumb mistakes I made.  PLEASE don’t do the stupid things I did, and if you’re doing them now; STOP!  Check out DivorceCare for yourself.  I’m genuinely sorry for all that you are going through right now, but I’m glad that groups like DivorceCare have people willing to walk alongside you during the journey.

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Thriving Ahead – Divorce Coaching

I’m getting a divorce. Now what? How will I do this on my own? How will I afford this? Why is my ex acting this way? What is my future going to look like? What about the kids? These are just a few of the many question that may be going through your head right now.

 Going through a divorce is like being on a roller coaster of emotions. You often feel scared, alone, frustrated, and unsure of your decisions. Every aspect of your world is changing and you are left to manage your emotions as you go. You are not alone. You also do not have to go through this process alone. After going through my own painful divorce, I knew I wanted to help others find their voice and self confidence through their divorce. This realization gave way to the start of Thriving Ahead Divorce Coaching. As your divorce coach, I am here to walk along side you and help you uncover the path to move you forward in your life. This process will help you move from where you are now to where you want to be

Whether you are contemplating divorce, in the process of going through your divorce, or post divorce, divorce coaching can help you find your way to a better future. Together, we can work to move you a place of peace, self empowerment, and happiness.

Divorce coaching allows us to identify specific and achievable goals to move you forward in a positive direction. You owe it to yourself to put the building blocks in place to secure stability in your future. The tools learned will help you achieve desirable results throughout the divorce and gain the ability to work effectively with your ex on issues such as co-parenting and blended families.

If you find yourself on the divorce process continuum, I urge you to explore thrivingahead.com to gain more information as to how I can walk along side of you as your divorce coach. I am right here and I have been down this long road. Together we can navigate your journey and THRIVE AHEAD.

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