Preparing for a Divorce

Jane was married to David for 23 years and they had a 21-year-old daughter with special needs. Jane knew she wanted to divorce David and started making plans. Due to the current state of their relationship, Jane needed private and discreet planning to prepare a case for her divorce. Jane’s sister was a client of North Star, and she recommended Jane start working with North Star to plan for as smooth a transition as possible.

North Star started working with Jane in August 2016, prior to the divorce proceedings being in full swing. Jane provided both North Star and her attorney with copies of all the accounts she was aware of. While the attorney laid things out from a legal perspective, North Star was able to provide various scenarios on a grander scale to Jane. With North Star’s help, she was able to envision what her life would look like with child support and alimony, as well as without. He identified either way, she would be able to support herself and her daughter from a financial perspective.

Equally important, North Star identified a need for some forensic accounting. He was able to ascertain Jane’s soon to be ex-husband may have been moving financial assets as well as hiding some. With North Star’s help, the attorney was able to push to include the discovered assets in the divorce proceedings.

Along with planning for Jane, her daughter also would require care. At the time of their first meeting, no special needs planning or guardianship work had been done for their daughter. North Star identified this need and brought in an attorney to put together an ABLE account for her daughter’s fund. They additionally drafted trust work for Jane that would allow for assets to properly be managed for the daughter in case her daughter inherited money. North Star also helped Jane to successfully apply for guardianship of the daughter. This planning also opened up the door for them to apply for state benefits.

Jane and her sister made a long list of actions and executed them swiftly and in a coordinated way. This included interviewing and lawyers and selecting one, securing copies of all financial accounts and bringing them to both the attorney and North Star, temporarily moving in with her mother while she worked on purchasing a home, renting a storage unit, opening up a PO Box, moving out of her shared home with her ex-husband, changing beneficiaries on her accounts and more. It was a very stressful time and North Star worked to ease that transition while prioritizing Jane and her daughter’s needs.

Although North Star started helping Jane in August 2016, due to the nature of the divorce, she did not officially become a client until September 2019 when her divorce was final and she was able to transfer her accounts. Now more than a year after the divorce was finalized, Jane is happy to have moved on from a difficult situation.

Divorce planning checklist (from a financial perspective)

  • Make copies of all family financial records (banking, brokerage, retirement, pensions, Social Security, life insurance, debts…)
  • Make a list of all shared assets worth more than $300 (homes, cars, jewelry….)
  • Interview lawyers
  • Interview financial advisors
  • Determine what you can earn post-divorce
  • Determine what your expense budget will be post-divorce
  • Find a safe place to stay if you’re in danger
  • Develop a support network

This list is provided as a starting point and is not exhaustive. It should not replace the advice of your attorney and financial advisor.

Why North Star Advisory Group

There’s something more powerful than luck or coincidence to help bring financial independence within reach – planning.

As professionals dedicated to continuing education and a high standard of ethics, we leave nothing to chance. We coordinate with other trusted professionals to ensure seamless management of your assets with services that range from portfolio management, insurance, tax, estate, retirement planning and beyond.

The result is a unique plan that has the underpinnings of knowledge required to carry it forward, a plan that is thoroughly researched and vetted, yet flexible and responsive to life’s many transitions.

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