The last thing you would ever want to imagine is a married couple getting a divorce as a result of one person in the marriage being diagnosed with cancer. During this time, the person who is fighting the cancer needs a strong personal support system. When their support structure at home starts to deteriorate they find themselves fighting two battles instead of one. A perfectly healthy relationship all of a sudden changed as a result of the other person coming down with a medical condition that was out of her or his control.
Why Do People Say Goodbye in Times of Need?
The spouse who functions as the caretaker imagines unpleasant thoughts about their future. The caretaker looks inward, seeks more joy, wants more fun, seeks more financial security and protection in her or his life. The caretaker fears the unknown. The fear of what may happen in the future is sufficiently scary to lead the caretaker down a decision path to move in a different direction.
If you, as the person who has been diagnosed with cancer, find yourself facing this type of situation you have to figure out how to protect yourself even more in these times of need. Your ability to make income in the future may be different. Your ability to protect your assets may be challenging. Your future obligations could mount as a result of medical bills. If you let it your divorce could create a financial mess that could be difficult to unravel. There are ways to manage the financial outcomes from your divorce. It’s about utilizing a process that helps you preserve your marital estate today and the risks you may incur in the future.
What You Need to Do
Here are some questions you should think about to prepare and best position yourself for your life after your divorce. We developed these questions by placing ourselves in your shoes. You may have been just diagnosed, in remission or experiencing a reoccurrence. The future is unknown and you need to build protections into your divorce decree so you do not get surprised with your financial outcomes. We ask these types of questions when people are challenged with a medical condition. These questions are designed to focus on architecting your divorce to work for you and your life. Your answers to these questions would provide a financial architect insight how to design your outcomes.
- Future medical procedures
- What types of medical procedures might you incur in the future?
- Should you be the only person to shield these financial burdens in the future?
- If so, why? If not, how should you account for this in your divorce process?
- Health insurance
- Who is the subscriber of your health plan today?
- What type of coverage do you have (or do you not have) in your insurance policy?
- What are your medical premiums under your current health plan?
- Is your spouse planning to remove you from the existing plan? If so, when?
- What do you anticipate your premiums will be under your future health plan?
- Are you able to get the same or similar coverage ‘tomorrow’ on your own?
- Outstanding debts
- Are there any debts outstanding that you still have to pay the hospital or other providers?
- Now that your situation has changed, how much can you earn over time?
- How dependent were you on your spouse for her or his earnings stream?
- Social security benefits
- Have you drawn on your social security benefits for medical reasons?
- Can you access your spouse’s social security benefits before reaching a certain age?
- Trust Funds
- Is there a trust fund setup in your name?
- Who is the beneficiary of the trust fund?
- Might your spouse try to access these monies?
- How do you protect yourself?
- Recent inheritances
- Have you recently received an inheritance that could help you pay for your future medical expenses?
- How do you protect the inheritance from becoming part of the marital estate and later allocated between you and your spouse?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg of the things you need to think about for your divorce. To manage your financial risks, you have to plan and position your divorce carefully. Members of our firm understand what it means to have cancer. We’ve been through it and understand what comes with it too.
About the Author
Larry Smith is a Founding Partner of Divorce Outcomes, a specialized professional services firm that manages all of the financial aspects in a divorce process. Since 2003 he has worked as a trusted financial advisor, financial advocate, divorce architect and technical financial expert; he is not an attorney. He is an alumni of KPMG and Andersen with expertise in technical accounting, forensics, sophisticated taxation, management consulting, risk management, advanced process engineering, business combinations, divorce management, multi-party negotiations, advanced quality analytics and cognitive performance technologies. Since 1986 Larry has been advising individuals and organizations about innovative financial solutions to resolve complex financial challenges that arise in life and in business.
For both personal and business divorces, Larry is considered an expert in divorce strategies, divorce process management, financial divorce architecture, financial risk management, taxation for divorces, financial divorce forensics, advanced divorce analytics, financial divorce negotiations and mediation, business valuations and sophisticated equity structures. He helps clients shape complex financial decisions, manage communication risks and ever-changing negotiating positions to strategically preserve or grow wealth from these types of transactions.
If You Have a Question
If you have a question, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 617-680-5222. The call is free. I will spend 30–60 minutes with you. I will provide you an honest assessment as to where I think you are positioned in your divorce process or answer any questions you have. I may provide you some guidance, insight or advice that you can take with you as you wish. There is no obligation to move forward. The phone call is designed to ease your fears, provide you some options to pursue and a potential road to run on that can lead you down a path to achieve a successful outcome.
About Divorce Outcomes
Divorce Outcomes is a specialty services firm that helps people both domestically and internationally manage all of the financial decisions that arise in their divorce process. We are not attorneys. We are financial experts who partner with our clients as their personal financial advocates. We help our clients manage their divorce process, uncover hidden financial risks, architect divorce solutions, manage ever-changing negotiating positions, communicate complex financial matters and close the divorce process as soon as possible with a goal to arrive at the best outcomes possible. Throughout the process we evaluate the current state of our clients’ financial lives with an objective to best reposition their future. We do not sell any products. We simply raise issues that are in our clients best interest. Our clients share with us we:
- unfold, analyze and repackage their financial life so they are well positioned after their divorce
- preserve the value of their business or marital estate
- continuously strive to provide a return on our services
- build balanced financial solutions grounded in evidence
- find ways to make our client, and at times both parties, money through the process
- design their divorce to work for them and their family’s life
- provide mental clarity to make decisions
- reduce the total process time from start to close
- minimize the stress and unpleasant memories that can last a lifetime
As we reach an agreed upon settlement structure, we help our clients identify a fitting attorney who can leverage the financial solution to draft and record the requisite legal documents. Where outcomes are at risk from a traditional process, we function as expert financial negotiators or financial mediators to turn around the situation and achieve our client’s desired outcomes.
This communication is for general informational purposes only which may or may not reflect the most current developments. It is not intended to constitute formal advice or a recommended course of action as every person’s situation is unique and different. The information here is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient to make a decision without professional guidance.