Navigating Divorce Mediation with College-Aged Children: Key Considerations
With Laura Lorber, JD
As an expert mediator, Laura Lorber explains mediation as a voluntary process in which a mediator represents all involved parties by helping them communicate, calm emotions, and stick to the issues at hand. As you work through each issue a written agreement is drafted.
According to Laura, mediation can offer several financial benefits for Empty Nesters (parents whose children have grown up and left home) compared to going to court in the context of divorce or family disputes. Some of these benefits include cost savings, which can be a faster process than going to court.
In addition, some key considerations while navigating divorce:
- Financial Support: Determining how college expenses will be shared between both parents, including tuition, room, board, and other educational costs.
- Communication: Maintaining open and effective communication with your child about the divorce and its impact on their college life.
- Co-parenting plan: that reflects your child’s independence and yet creates clear expectations for the whole family about holidays and vacations.
- College Choice: Addressing any disagreements about your child's choice of college and how it may affect custody arrangements.
- Financial Aid: Understanding how divorce may impact your child's eligibility for financial aid and scholarships.
- Emotion and Support: Providing emotional support for your child during this transitional period.
- Future Planning: Consider long-term implications and how divorce agreements may need to be modified as your child progresses through college.
- Respecting Boundaries: Respecting your child's independence and boundaries while providing the necessary support.
It's important to note that the specific financial benefits of mediation can vary depending on the complexity of your situation and the willingness of both parties to cooperate. Mediation is not suitable for all cases, particularly if there are issues of abuse, violence, or extreme power imbalances. In such cases, court intervention may be necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved. Consulting with a family law attorney or mediator can help you determine the best approach for your specific circumstances.
Rebuild your financial plan:
Rebuilding your financial plan after a separation or divorce can be a challenging process, but it's essential to ensure your financial well-being and long-term security. Here are some steps to help you rejuvenate your financial plan:
Assess Your Current Financial Situation:
- Gather all financial documents, including bank statements, investment accounts, retirement accounts, tax returns, and insurance policies.
- Create a detailed list of your assets, debts, and monthly expenses.
- Understand the legal and financial implications of the separation or divorce agreement, such as alimony, child support, and property division.
Set Clear Financial Goals:
- Define your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, or buying a home.
- Prioritize your goals based on your current needs and future aspirations.
Create a Budget:
- Develop a realistic budget that outlines your income and expenses.
- Ensure your budget accommodates any new financial responsibilities resulting from the separation.
- Cut unnecessary expenses and focus on building a strong financial foundation.
Build an Emergency Fund:
- Save at least three to six months' worth of living expenses in an easily accessible savings account. An emergency fund provides a financial cushion for unexpected expenses or job loss.
Revise Your Investments:
- Review and adjust your investment portfolio based on your new financial goals and risk tolerance.
- Consult with a financial advisor like me, if needed, to ensure your investments align with your objectives.
Update Your Estate Plan:
- Update your will, beneficiary designations, and powers of attorney to reflect your new circumstances.
- Consider appointing a new executor or guardian for your children if applicable.
- Develop a strategy for managing and paying off any joint debts or debts assigned to you in the separation agreement.
- Prioritize high-interest debts and negotiate with creditors, if possible.
Establish a New Financial Identity:
- If you share accounts with your ex-spouse, open new individual accounts for banking, credit cards, and investments.
- Monitor your credit reports and make sure all joint accounts are closed or transferred to one of the parties, as specified in the divorce agreement.
Seek Professional Guidance:
- Consult with a financial advisor or planner to help you navigate this transition.
- If necessary, consult with an attorney to ensure that all legal and financial aspects of the separation are appropriately managed.
Maintain Open Communication:
- If you have shared financial responsibilities with your ex-spouse (e.g., co-parenting costs), maintain open and transparent communication to avoid financial disputes.
Stay Committed to Your Financial Goals:
- Stick to your budget and regularly review your financial progress.
- Adjust your plan as your circumstances change and be patient as you work towards your financial goals.
Rebuilding your financial plan after a separation requires time, patience, and a clear strategy. Remember that seeking professional advice when necessary and staying committed to your goals is key to your financial recovery and future security.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you found this post to be informative and valuable. With our expertise and personalized solutions, we are committed to guiding you toward success. Ready to take the next step? I invite you to schedule a consultation. Whether you have questions, need tailored advice, or want to explore how we can assist you further, we're here for you. Don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're eager to hear from you and embark on this journey together. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Susan Alefi is a Registered Representative with LPL Financial. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial,
a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.