As of now, many have heard the news of the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorce. Of course this is unfortunate, especially for their children, but there are financial lessons to be learned when couples marry, then, all-too-often, find themselves in a divorce.
Finances are emotional enough, but when we add in the ending of a union, many cannot separate the hurt from what is essentially a business transaction. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have teams of lawyers that will be sure to keep everyone’s best interest in mind.
The ultimate Angelina Jolie – Brad Pitt divorce settlement will be agreed upon by both parties and they will move on. This article will hopefully provide some insight for us “regular” folks facing this situation.
Much of the tears can be avoided if an appropriate pre-nuptial agreement is signed, but if not when faced with a potential divorce, I advice the following:
Gather all financial documents:
Many couples live separate financial lives, but when you are married each of your assets and debts are aggregated to determine how it is all divided. So, hidden bank accounts and/or hidden credit card debts can really be problems. This is the time you must figure out what you are “worth” as a couple to determine what each of you are responsible and entitled to going forward.
Monitor your credit report:
Likely, you have many debts that are joint. Even if the car is “his”, but the debt is joint, it is both of your responsibility to pay on this loan. Many times couples will be ordered to refinance the debt singlely, but that is not always possible. Be sure to pull a credit report immediately (at mycreditreport.com) and continue to monitor it.
Open account(s) in your name only:
It is important to gain some independence and to keep track of what this new stage of life will “cost” you. Having a separate account that you pass all your income and bills through will assist you in determining what level of support (or not) you need. You will be devising a new budget and this account will be very helpful in determining that.
Hire professional help:
This is obviously when you hire a competent attorney, but often overlooked is a financial advisor as well as a social worker/therapist. Your attorney is essential to navigate you through this difficult and often illogical time, but the other professionals will assist you with your current issues you are facing during your divorce. More importantly, they will assist with having a plan to go forward.
Separately and often most important is how your children’s future is determined. This includes custody as well as how they will be supported financially and emotionally. I leave that issue for another day, but my hope is Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt can have a somewhat amicable and private divorce for the sake of their children.