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Divorce messes with your head. Believe me, I’ve seen it first-hand. The once smart, together person that you were turns into an emotional, brain-fogged, disorganized basket case. You try really hard to keep it together, but you know this will not go down as ‘the best of times.’ You want to sit down and get it together to plan your future but feel paralyzed and overwhelmed by indecision.

What’s a person to do?

Well, first, get real.


When it comes to the family finances, what’s your role? Do you handle the bill paying? Are you “in the know” on all your investment accounts, retirement plans, bank accounts, etc. or are you in the dark? If you’re in the dark, you need someone to help you turn the lights on – and fast!  If you and your spouse are cooperative, ask for statements on all your asset and debt accounts and your most recent tax returns so you can find a CDFA® to help bring you up to speed.  A CDFA® is specifically trained in the financial aspects of divorce and will be your best ally in this process! She’ll clear out that brain-fog like a down-slope wind!


This can be hard at first but start giving some thought to what you want the next phase of your life to look like. Unfortunately, this has to happen at the same time that you are grieving what you thought the next phase was going to look like. But if you give yourself some space, it can actually be fun. Now you have the chance to start from scratch. What did you used to dream of doing that got lost while you were married? Is it time to go back to school? Maybe a cool, downtown loft condo should replace that family home in the burbs that you’ve been keeping clean.  Whatever your dreams, your budget and financial picture need to be top of mind. So, the step above has to come first so your dreams don’t outsize your wallet!


Often during marriage, the bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc. are in the names of both spouses. After your divorce all those accounts will need to be closed or converted. When the divorce is final, your financial picture may not be as strong as it used to be. So, you’ll want to be sure to put some things in place while you’re still married. As soon as you think of divorcing, open a checking and savings account in your own name to begin the process of establishing your own financial identity. Next, find a good, rewards credit card to apply for in your name alone so that you will be assured of access to credit post-divorce. You might even need credit during the process, if legal fees are necessary.

These may seem like small steps but are strategic, first steps to get you thinking financially and looking out for your future. You can get through this but a little help from a CDFA® friend is a great place to start.


About the author:

Bev Banfield is a CPA, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and founder of Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors. The Denver-based company was established to help divorcing couples more easily and equitably separate their finances. Banfield has more than 30 years of experience in financial analysis, budgeting, and auditing. Contact us for more information at (303) 482-1726 or Connect with her on LinkedIn