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Divorce and Your Money - #1 Divorce Podcast

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If you are currently going through a divorce or soon will be, Divorce and Your Money is the perfect podcast for you. The author, Shawn C. H. Leamon (MBA), is a professional and well-respected financial advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. His podcast provides real-world practical advice, including tips and checklists to help women and men protect their financial interests and future.


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If you are currently going through a divorce or soon will be, Divorce and Your Money is the perfect podcast for you. The author, Shawn C. H. Leamon (MBA), is a professional and well-respected financial advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. His podcast provides real-world practical advice, including tips and checklists to help women and men protect their financial interests and future.






How to Get Divorce Help

Podcast episodes are coming less frequently, but I am still here to help you. Book a one-on-one coaching call: https://divorceandyourmoney.com/coaching/ Get ALL the podcast episodes in the Quick Start Guide here Get the book Divorce and Your Money: How to Avoid Costly Divorce Mistakes on Amazon


0232: How Does Spousal Support Work? - Part 2

0232: How Does Spousal Support Work? - Part 2 Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode, we are continuing the series on spousal support/alimony, whatever name you want to call it. And the importance of this episode is to cover the different types of spousal support or alimony available. I'm going to go through five different types, temporary support, permanent support, rehabilitative support, lump sum, and partial lump-sum support. So, let's jump in. Let's start with temporary support. Temporary support, generally speaking, is - before or during the divorce process - you have a temporary support amount you may be paying or receiving. It's the support you agree upon before the divorce is over. Pretty clear. The important thing to know about temporary agreements, and I say this almost every day on calls or when people are negotiating, whether you're the person about to pay or receive temporary spousal support, be very careful about what you decide. The numbers that you agree upon for temporary support often become the support numbers you use after divorce. And so, if you agree to a $1,000 a month, oftentimes the agreement after the divorce will be $1,000 a month. There is a lot less flexibility. Generally speaking, once you agree upon a temporary support number that often becomes the final support amount that you use after the divorce process. So, something to be very careful about there. Permanent support. Permanent support is what it sounds like. Permanent support is support for life. It's generally speaking, not as common as it used to be. If you were in a long-term marriage and you didn't work and you're near retirement age, there may be a permanent support amount, but if you are relatively young, then there usually isn't permanent support. It's not something that's automatic or even expected the way it once used to be. That said, it still exists, and that's something that you should be aware of. Every state, of course, as always has its own circumstances in revolving permanent support. Now, there's something between temporary and permanent support that wasn't on my list that I want to jump in, is there's just what your final support amount is. So, it's just what you negotiate. It doesn't necessarily have a fancy name other than your alimony number. So, if your alimony is $1,000 a month for eight years, either paying or receiving, that's just the amount. That's not temporary, that's not permanent, that's just your amount. So, that is the alimony payment. I just want to make that distinction in there very quickly. There's something called rehabilitative support. And it's not always known by that name, but I'm going to go through what it means because its meaning is very relevant to many of the discussions that I have, and that you may be thinking about when it comes to thinking about support and what makes sense. So, rehabilitative support is a very simple concept and that is either you or your spouse may need some additional training to get back on their feet and start earning a reasonable living after the divorce process. If they've been out of the workforce for a period of time, or if you've been out of the workforce for a period of time, it might take one, two, five years to get back on your feet or for your spouse to get back on their feet. And so, in a rehabilitative support model, what often happens is you pay a higher amount of spousal support or receive a higher amount of spousal support for the first few years while that spouse gets their training. So, if they're going to become a paralegal, go back to college, get an advanced degree, some sort of free training, whatever the case may be. Well, you might say, "Well, I'm going to agree to a higher level of support for the first three years that person gets to get back on their feet." And then it's presumed that after those three years, they'll have their certification, they can...


0231: How Does Spousal Support Work? - Part 1

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. All right. Today, I want to talk about a very basic and essential topic that is worth your understanding and understanding the nuances of it, and that is spousal support. And when I talk about spousal support, I also mean alimony in there as well. Spousal support or alimony is the same term used interchangeably. Sometimes I'll refer to it as spousal support, sometimes I might say alimony, but know that they are the exact same thing. There's a lot of details that you should know about alimony or spousal support, and I want to make sure you understand the basics of it. Let's start with just a simple definition. What it is, is a court-ordered provision of money for one spouse after divorce, or sometimes separation as well. Spousal support is a very important concept. You may be on the paying end of support, you may be on the receiving end. But oftentimes, people ask, "Well, why do I have to pay support?" or, "Shouldn't I be receiving spousal support?" And you should kind of understand why it exists. Very simply, one spouse pays the other money, usually on a semi-regular basis. And the reason it exists is that most of the time, both spouses don't have equal resources. Usually, one spouse earns more than the other, and to make up for that difference, they have spousal support. Particularly, in a longer marriage where if you've been married for a long time, and if you're getting divorced and one spouse didn't work or barely worked part-time, that income difference can be substantial. Sometimes, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year a difference and so spousal support is there to make sure that the lower-earning spouse does not end up without any form of income after the divorce process is over. Why it came into play, if you look up the history of spousal support, why it even exists, is actually, once upon a time, you could get divorced but oftentimes, if we are assuming traditional gender roles, the wife would be left destitute. The husband who has had some sort of profession many, many decades ago before divorce laws evolved would work the job, the wife would stay at home if you think of the traditional family as it used to be. Before spousal support, if a wife were to get divorced, the wife would have no money and they would have to start over with basically nothing. They would be destitute. And so, spousal support was enacted by just about every state to minimize that from happening and keep that from happening in this situation of divorce, like other evolutions in divorce include no-fault divorce laws, which I've talked about on the podcast. It used to be the case where you had to prove a reason that you were getting divorced. Now you can get divorced for any reason at all in any state. Look, there are pros and cons and what not to everything, but just want to give a little bit of context there. Now, the big question that I get asked a lot is, "How much alimony am I going to get?" And the answer to that is it depends. There are numerous factors that are considered. Now, every state has its own nuances to how spousal support is determined. Some of them, it's a little bit more formulaic. More often, it is almost just whatever you and your spouse agree to or whatever a court decides is the amount of support that's going to be paid, and there are very few guidelines. Particularly, for my California listeners... I work with a lot of people in California, a lot of people in New York... Now, I work with people everywhere but in those two states in particular people, the question is, "How much support am I going to pay?" And the answer is, well, we're going to have to figure it out and negotiate it because it's not a hard and fast rule in terms of spousal support. So there are a lot of nuances to the spousal support question and what financial status means, and trying to give a bunch of examples is a little bit...


0230: A Restraining Order to Protect Your Money in Divorce (Automatic Temporary Restraining Order)

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. Almost half the people I talk to on a given day or week have yet to file for divorce. And they are in the planning phases and are trying to figure out their options. Now, I'm never an advocate for divorce, but there's one situation in which I encourage people to file sooner over later. And the reason is because, when you file for divorce, you generally have additional protections when it comes to financial decisions that are made. And specifically, most divorce filings include something that's called a temporary restraining order or automatic temporary restraining order, depending upon your state. And what that means is that neither spouse is allowed to make big financial decisions once the divorce is filed. And the reason that's important is oftentimes I hear people saying, "Well, my spouse is thinking about doing this. Should I go along with it? Or how can I stop this from happening? Or how do I protect myself if my spouse does that?" And oftentimes the only answer is, if this is something you're really worried about, you need to file for divorce now to protect yourself and to prevent your spouse from making this particular financial decision that could be very harmful to your future particularly when divorce is on the horizon. And this temporary restraining order or automatic temporary restraining order, as I said, prevents your spouse and you as well, but your spouse from making big financial moves. And what are those? Those could be something like selling property, transferring property, borrowing, like taking on a big debt, changing your insurance policies, withdrawing, that's a word I have a lot of trouble with, withdrawing large sums of money from bank accounts, destroying or hiding assets, paying down big debts, taking on big debts, making a big purchase, things like that. And the restraining order, which you get when you file, is there to protect you and to keep your spouse from doing those things. Now, it gets a little complicated because there are two things that are really important notes to think about. The first is that you can still do stuff that's in the normal course of business. Had a really challenging case lately where the spouses were business owners and they were filing for divorce, and they were trying to figure out how to still continue... They had a very, very successful business, but they buy and sell, I'm just going to use the word property very generally, regularly. I mean, that was basically what the nature of their business is. They buy and sell lots of properties. And so, the question was, under this temporary restraining order, how do we keep running the business the way we need to run the business, given that basically, all they do is large transactions and how to make that work efficiently. But other times I hear people saying, "My spouse is about to withdraw a bunch of money or transfer a bunch of money to here or there." And that's when that restraining order comes into play. But the point of all of that is just to say, the restraining order’s first important note is that you're still allowed to pay your groceries, pay your bills, pay your mortgage, do the normal things that you do to run a normal life. It's not meant to stop spending completely because that would be unrealistic. The second thing that you should know is that it's not perfect. And what I say by it's not perfect is, just because you have this restraining order in effect doesn't mean that your bank knows, doesn't mean your credit card company knows, doesn't mean that all of the institutions know what's going on. So even though there may be this restraining order in effect, if your bank doesn't know, your spouse could theoretically make some big transfers to different places. And, yeah, that'll come up later in the discussion, but it is not something that automatically goes in place to every...


0229: What Date Do You Value Assets in Divorce?

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. A question that's been coming up quite a bit is what day or what month do I use to value all of my stuff? What day do I pick to value the house, value the retirement account, use what numbers in the bank account? Is it June of this year? Is it April of last year? Is it when I filed for divorce? And or is it when the trial date is coming up? What day do I use to pick to value all of our stuff? And it's a really important question and a really complicated question because the date that you value all of your stuff can have really important impacts. I'll give you just a few examples so you know what I'm talking about. Let's just say you separated two years ago, and now you're finally getting to the divorce negotiation, which is a very common situation. Well, two years ago, your house may have been worth $500,000, but let's say now your house is worth $700,000. And you're planning on keeping the house. Do you use the $500,000 valuation from two years ago, or do you use the $700,000 valuation? Or a more complicated subject that I've been dealing with a lot lately is people who have stock options. This one's a very tricky one, but if you have stock options, those options often have certain grant dates where you get more options or certain exercises dates where those options get a lot more liquid or have more value. And so, one of the things that gets complicated is, well, when you're trying to get divorced or you or your spouse has stock options, not only what date do you use to value those options? Because generally speaking, oftentimes those options can fluctuate substantially in value over time, but also how many options are actual marital property versus not? And trying to figure that out can be very important. And the reason I bring up this subject is it is something that you should be thinking of. And then the third example that actually happens is a very simple one that actually doesn't have a lot of complications, but something you should be thinking about, which is, let's just say, I was talking to someone this morning about this. Let's just say you and your spouse are going to negotiate things yourselves, and it's relatively amicable, all things considered. And you're trying to figure out, well, what day do we use to pick for the bank accounts? Do we use last month? Do we use three months ago, whatever it is? And we just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and that could be a simple situation, but the point is, is that all of your property fluctuates. Oh, and then one more, sorry, I said that one more example, but if you think about a retirement account or a stock brokerage account or an investment account. Investments in your account fluctuate every day. And so if you were to calculate your investments on April 5th, that same investment account will have a totally different value on April 6th. And it could have a very different value in July of the next year. So there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to what date you pick to value assets. And I just want to give you some things to think about. And the important thing about this episode is to know what date to pick and to be thinking about what date to use. And it may give you some thoughts in terms of what timing you should pursue when it comes to your divorce process. And another way to think about the date that you value the assets is your separation date. And the goal in your divorce is to have a date where all of your assets, all of your debts are valued as of that date. So there is no confusion. So things go up in the future, that's not something that gets discussed. If things go down in the future, that's not something that really gets discussed either. The goal is to have it consistent going forward. Now, what is extra complicated about this topic is two things. One is that every state has very different laws as...


0228: How Do You Keep Separate Property Separate? (Or Prove Separate Property is Actually Marital Property?)

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. It's been a few months since I recorded a new episode and not because I haven't been working, but because been working a little too much and got behind on the podcast episode. So apologies for that. Thank you to all 0f the people who I've been speaking to over the past several weeks and months, there've been lots and lots of good questions and, and coaching calls coming in. And I want to get back in helping educate you on the different intricacies of the divorce process. And this episode specifically, I want to talk about some subjects that have been coming up quite a bit. And the first one I'd like to talk about is how do you keep your separate property separate? And also, how do you know if a separate property or what's being called separate property is actually marital property. And if you've been listening to other episodes, you know what I'm talking about in the context, but the big issue is, let's say you had some money. When I say property, it could be something like money. It could be a physical property. It could be, a retirement account, a car, whatever. Let's say you had something before you got married. How do you make sure that if you're now, unfortunately, facing divorce, that is still considered separate property? What kind of things can you do? Or should you be doing? And conversely, if your ex-spouse, for instance, is saying, well, this is separate property, but, but you think it's actually something that you should be splitting between the two of you. How do you broach and go down that discussion? It's a very common topic that comes up every, every few days in terms of people that I get to speak with. And there are a few things to consider here. And let's take it from the perspective of you have some separate property. Maybe you got an inheritance as a, maybe you had something when you got married, there's a lot of different types of separate property. How do you make sure that it stays separate? A few things. The first is to keep good records. Now keeping good records, doesn't ensure that something is separate, stay separate. However, keeping good records can ensure that you can at least be able to prove the argument one way or another in terms of what is going on. So you need to make sure that you can keep good records. Now it becomes a challenge when sometimes you've been married for, someone called me, I spoke to just the other day, who'd been married for 31 years and there was a separate property question and there's no way to get the records. And so we were talking about some advanced strategies in terms of, getting affidavits from a parent who's still around and, and other siblings who are on the receiving end of this inheritance when everyone got the same amount, et cetera, et cetera. In lieu of being able to have actual records, they had to approach a different direction. But if you have things like bank accounts or old account's statements, some of these institutions keep account statements for, for a decade or more, or if you walk straight into your bank, sometimes they can pull if you've used the same bank for a long time and they're still around. Oftentimes they have good records that go back further than what you may build, ask or access online, or just to get when you stroll in, if you just talk to a casual person at the bank. But anything you can do to get old records, old communications that indicate when you received some form of property and how much it was at the time it can bolster your case. The second thing is to avoid co-mingling is a term that if you listen to the podcast, you should've heard before. But co-mingling is just the idea that you may mix your separate assets with your marital assets. Simple as that. And what does that mean? Well, let's just say you got an inheritance and then you got an inheritance of $100 and you put 50 of it into your joint checking...


0228: How Do You Keep Separate Property Separate? (Or Prove Separate Property is Actually Marital Property?)

0228: How Do You Keep Separate Property Separate? (Or Prove Separate Property is Actually Marital Property?) Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. It's been a few months since I recorded a new episode and not because I haven't been working, but because been working a little too much and got behind on the podcast episode. So apologies for that. Thank you to all 0f the people who I've been speaking to over the past several...


0227: Infidelity, Divorce, and How to Prepare - Interview with Dr. Marie Murphy, Relationship Coach

0227 - Infidelity, Divorce, and How to Prepare - Interview with Dr. Marie Murphy, Relationship Coach In this episode, we have an interview with Dr. Marie Murphy, Relationship Coach, and Host of Your Secret is Safe With Me podcast, a non-judgmental talk about infidelity. Learn more aboutMarien here: https://www.mariemurphyphd.com/about. Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. Dr. Marie Murphy: Hi, everyone. I'm Dr. Marie Murphy. This podcast is all about expanding the conversation around infidelity. I'm a relationship coach and I specialize in helping people who are having affairs make decisions about how to move forward that are truly right for them. On this show, we feature tools and guidance from my coaching practice, as well as advice from other professionals whose work pertains to the sometimes complicated business of romantic relationships. Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Shawn Leamon, host of the Divorce and Your Money podcast. Shawn received his Bachelor's degree in economics and philosophy from Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. from the I.E. Business School in Madrid, Spain. Shawn is a certified divorce financial analyst and provides financial advice for people who are divorced podcast and his work with one-on-one clients. You can learn more about Shawn's services at DivorceAndYourMoney.com. In his personal life, Shawn loves to push his physical and mental limits as an ultra-endurance athlete, and as an avid traveler, Shawn spends his time between his offices in Dallas, New York City, and Hanover, New Hampshire. He can often be found wandering the globe, and of the more than 20 countries he has visited, Brazil and Monaco are two of his favorites. Before we get to today's episode, I want to let you that today's show is brought to you by Marie Murphy, Ph.D. Relationship Coaching. That's me. I provide shame-free, blame-free, non-judgmental relationship coaching. You can talk to me about the things that seem too messy or weird or stigmatized to share with your best friend or your spouse, or even your therapist, including but not limited to matters related to infidelity. To learn more about my work, go to MarieMurphyPhD.com. Now, today's episode. Shawn, welcome, it's great to have you here! Shawn Leamon: Hi, Marie! Thank you for having me. Dr. Marie Murphy: It's a pleasure. You have an awesome book that is called Divorce and Your Money, if I'm not mistaken. Shawn Leamon: That's right. Dr. Marie Murphy: Right? Yeah, okay, great. I recommend this book to anyone who is staring down the barrel of divorce. It is clear and packed with hopeful guidance, and one of the things that's really interesting that you talk about is the value, and often the necessity, of having a really good divorce lawyer, but you also talk about the limits of what attorneys provide clients who are going through divorces. I think you quoted an attorney that you know as saying, "We attorneys went to law school so we wouldn't have to do math," and I can certainly relate to that, even though I'm not an attorney. Can you say more about the limits of what attorneys provide, and why it's important to have a financial advisor, as well? Shawn Leamon: Most certainly. I think at a high level, there's three major issues that go on in divorce. One is, of course, the emotional side: the relationship, your own emotions, emotions of your spouse, kids, et cetera. Of course, you should have help with that aspect. The other element is divorce is, by nature, a legal transaction. Marriage is a piece of paper. Divorce, conversely, is another piece of paper that says that you're divorced. There are a lot of legalities to how to split up a couple and all that entails, and that's where having a good lawyer will help you. Then on the other side of it is the third part of the financial element, which is all of your money. You're talking about houses, retirement accounts, how much support...


0226: All About Divorce Mediation with Monica Mazzei, Mediator & Family Law Attorney in California

In this episode, we interview Monica Mazzei, a top family law attorney in California with almost 20 years of experience. She will give us the ins and outs of mediation - and how it can be a great tool to resolve even the most complex divorces. To reach Monica directly, here is her contact information: Monica Mazzei Sideman & Bancroft 415.392.1960 mmazzei@sideman.com https://www.sideman.com/professionals/monica-mazzei/ San Francisco, CA Find the full transcript of the episode below. Shawn Leamon: In this episode, I get to interview Monica Mazzei. And she is one of the top family lawyers in California. She’s worked on dozens if not hundreds of really impressive cases with some super successful people in California. And in our episode, she is going to talk to us all about mediation, the ins and outs, how it works, how to make sure it’s a good fit for you, how to get the most out of it. And why mediation may be really useful for your situation and why it’s something that you should consider, particularly in a world in which many courts are still closed, or at least are extra slow in a pandemic world. And mediation may be one of the only ways you can get your divorce resolved in a reasonable timeframe. And it’s a much faster process. It is a more private process and Monica is going to walk us through all of the details of that. And for you listeners in California as well, as an added bonus she may be a good fit for you. So just something to think about. Without further ado here’s my interview with Monica. So today on the show I have with me Monica Mazzei. An attorney and partner at Simon and Bancroft based in San Francisco. Monica, welcome to the show. Monica Mazzei: Why thank you. Happy to be here. Shawn Leamon: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are, where you’re from, your legal background, before we get into the meat of today’s episode which is all about mediation. Monica Mazzei: So my name is Monica Mazzei. I have been practicing family law exclusively for nearly 20 years. I started practicing family law in Beverly Hills. And for the last 15 years my practice has been in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. I handle the financial part of the divorce, but I don’t handle any child custody. So I have a pretty unusual practice in that way. And being in the Bay Area as you can imagine, I work with a lot of technology companies, high net worth clients, and really enjoy practicing family law. Shawn Leamon: And I want to get into mediation in a moment, but is mediation the focus of your practice or have you done other things in the past? I just want to get a feel and set the audience up for a little bit of your legal background and expertise. Monica Mazzei: So my practice over the last year has been transitioning from representing clients in a traditional way in the divorce, representing one party either in settlement conferences or in litigation. Now transitioning to serving as a mediator. So I work with both parties to help facilitate an agreement. Those parties usually have their own independent attorneys that they consult with. But I’m there as a neutral third party to tell them what the law is, identify the issues, brainstorm ideas, and help them work out an agreement outside the court system. Shawn Leamon: So let’s talk about the mechanics of that. And I think it’s very useful to have had the background from the traditional perspective that now you get to work with both sides and come with creative solutions. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more of just what is mediation and how does it work? And it’s a topic that everyone knows about in concept, but a lot of people don’t really know the details of what is mediation like. You said you’re the neutral person, but you also mentioned something about people also have their own attorneys. So can you kind of set up the background on the basics of mediation for us? Monica Mazzei: Sure. So traditional mediation is when two parties meet with...


0225: Understanding Commingling In Divorce - And How to Protect Yourself

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode, I want to discuss an important term called co-mingling. That is the process in which you can inadvertently make separate property, marital property. Co-mingling is a very important term when it comes to divorce, and I'm going to use an example of an inheritance because it's a very common example. Let's just say you receive an inheritance from your mom, I'm just going to make it up, and let's just say you received $100,000 from your mom because unfortunately, she passed away. Well, if you receive that money, the perfect circumstance or the ideal circumstance is you deposit that money into a separate bank account and you never move it to your joint bank account and you only track and... In a perfect world, you don't even spend that money. You save it for a rainy day. But let's just say you have to use some of it for a down payment on a house, and so you use that money for a down payment on a house. You and your spouse now have both of your names on the house, but that down payment came from that inheritance. That's a common example that I hear almost every week. Or even you needed the funds for daily living expenses and you started mixing those funds in and you move that money to a joint account. Well, when it comes to the time of divorce, you have to say, "Well, hey, is that money, is it separate property or is it marital property?" And it starts to get really complicated because it depends. Now, if you got that money first, and let's just say you used it for life expenses, and you used that money and you put it in a joint account from that inheritance money into a joint account. Well, those funds may have become marital assets, inadvertently, because of that. Or if you used those funds for a down payment on a jointly owned house, does it immediately become marital property? Now it gets a little bit more complicated. This subject is very complicated and it depends on your individual circumstances, but I want to give you the highlights as to what you're going to be thinking about if this is an issue in your divorce. Conversely, you could be on the other side of this situation too, where your spouse got an inheritance, and sometimes it's a pretty substantial amount, and you're trying to figure out, "Well, hey, we used some of that inheritance for these one, two and three things. Does he or she get credit for that money? Does that money come back? Is that joint property? What's the deal? What do we get to do with that?" So that is where this process becomes very important to understand from both sides of the spectrum. So the first part, and the term that I'm going to introduce to start, is called tracing. So the first word is co-mingling, and that's the process of making a separate property, marital, broadly speaking. Now, tracing is a very important term, and that is figuring out where the money came from. Simple as that. So if you had, let's just say, a gift from a parent, and let's just say that gift came or that inheritance came eight years ago, and then five years ago you used that money to buy a house. And then now fast forward five years, you're facing a divorce situation. Well, you want to keep that inheritance separate, is my guess, and you don't want to split the funds that your parent gave you. So how do you figure out and prove, basically, that that inheritance is separate property? And conversely, if you're the one who's contesting this situation, you're going to have to make your spouse illustrate where all of that money came from and have the records for it. So that's where tracing comes into play. Very simply, it's just figuring out where the money came from and going through that process of, "Hey, eight years ago, those funds were deposited into this account. And then five years ago, it was wired to this company for the down payment on the house." And you need to go through...


0224: How to Handle Inheritances and Gifts in Divorce

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. It's been a little while since I have done an episode and it's been a very busy couple of months, so apologies about that. But I want to discuss a topic that's been coming up quite a bit in the coaching calls. And that is how you handle inheritances and gifts during a divorce. It's a tricky question. And it's an important question because oftentimes your parents, or someone, will leave you a substantial sum and you want to protect that during the divorce process. Sometimes that inheritance money comes at a poorly time to time where you can't control it. Someone passes away, unfortunately, and you receive some money maybe right before a divorce or during the divorce process. And you're trying to figure out, well, what should you do? I just spoke with someone the other day who had filed for divorce and then, unfortunately, a parent passed away, eight months into the divorce process And they were wondering, "Well, how do we handle this new inheritance that arose, and what to do about that?" And so in this episode, I want to give you some tips when it comes to handling gifts or inheritances and how to protect that property. And really, the main thing is how do you prevent it from becoming a community property, which is the property that is subject to, or that you're going to end up having to split as part of the divorce process. So let's go through a few quick tips. The first thing is if you receive an inheritance, or you receive a gift from someone, keep that stuff in your name only. Meaning, if you get some money, let's just say a hundred thousand dollars, because I'm going to use that as an easy example. If the parent passes away and gives you a hundred thousand dollars, don't deposit that into a joint bank account. Set up a separate bank account that's in your name only. And we're going to call it your inherited funds account. And so put the money in that bank account separately so that it doesn't get commingled with the other assets. And that could get complicated because not always is an inheritance a gift. Sometimes it may be a home or a car or any other type of property. Whatever it is, make sure to title it in your name only. The second thing is don't let your spouse make any contributions to that gift or that inheritance. And the house is the easiest way to illustrate that. If you inherit a house and let's just say it's been run down for a little and it needs some repairs to get it up to speed. Well, one of the things that you should do is don't let your spouse contribute financially to those repairs because the value increase of that house, or even the whole house itself, depending upon where you are, could now come into question as part of the divorce process. And sometimes this may be a house that you maybe just made renovations or adjustments on a few years ago, and now the divorce process is happening. And now you're wondering, "Well, is any part of that house marital property, because my spouse helped renovate the master bathroom and bedroom in there?" And so if that's your situation, be very careful and think through what you're going to do with that inherited property. And if you can keep your spouse from making contributions to it, financial or labor even, then you should do so. The third thing is to consider transferring that inheritance or gift to a trust. Now, oftentimes a parent who was savvy in estate planning, or at least inheritance is most commonly from parents, which is why I use that example, are very savvy in their estate planning. And so oftentimes as part of their estate is they will give you that property, be it cash or the home or whatever, jewelry or whatever it may be, and they might require it to be put in a trust as part of the process. But if that wasn't the case for you, I would consider setting up a trust. Now there are lots of complications and nuances to having a...


0223: How Much Will Divorce Cost? (Answer: It Can Be Expensive!)

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. One of the most common questions I get, and one of the biggest anxiety producing questions I get, is how much is divorce going to cost? How much should I expect to spend on the divorce process? And if you're going to ask your attorney how much divorce is going to cost, they're going to say it depends. And I've never known an attorney to give a straight answer when it comes to the cost of divorce. And so in this particular episode, I want to go through some considerations in terms of how much the divorce may end up costing you in terms of the financial check that you might have to write. So I'm going to just give some ranges and some considerations and things to think about as it comes to the divorce process. Now everyone's situation is different. Divorce can cost more whether you live in a city, versus a suburb, versus a small town. Divorce can cost a lot depending upon what assets you have, what needs to be done. There's a lot of variations, but I'm just going to give you a range. And so on the low end, from what I see per person, I see the minimum, minimum, minimum, most people are going to spend on their divorce is about $5,000. And that's for one person. And so it'd be $10,000 as a couple. And that's assuming that everything goes smoothly in divorce, and yes, there are ways to make divorce go smoothly, but that's your best-case scenario. Now, the normal range I see for people is usually in the 20 to I'd say 35 or $40,000 range per person. Sometimes it's closer to 15. Sometimes it's closer to 50, but that unfortunately is not uncommon when it comes to the divorce process. And sometimes if there's just a lot of fighting, a lot of complication, the process is going to drag on for several years, the bills can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I've seen that too. And so what I want to go through is first to be aware of the cost of the divorce, and if you're going to be going down this path. I mean, that's why you're listening to this episode. There is a big expense, and you have to really think about what's worth it, and what's not when it comes to investing in the divorce process. And I want to go through a few ways in terms of explaining both how you could control the cost of divorce, and also how to figure out just a few quick methods on how to pay for it. When it comes to minimizing or controlling the cost of divorce, really the biggest expense when it comes to divorce cost is how much you and your spouse disagree on certain items. To put it a different way, is if you and your spouse can come up with solutions on your own, and come up with as much of an agreement as you can between the two of you and not involve attorneys, the cheaper the divorce will be, the less expensive it will be. And so if everything is a fight, and I use an extreme example all the time, is I grew up with a middle-class family. They did well for themselves, saved, and they had several hundred thousand dollars of savings, and a house and the normal stuff. And they spent 100% of their money and then some fighting over everything, from not just the big items like houses and retirement accounts, but all the way to who gets the dining room set. And unfortunately, they ended up in the divorce process, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees, and that was all the money that they had. On other examples, I know billionaires who've gotten divorced for less than $20,000, and that's because they came up with an agreement ahead of time with their spouse. And yeah, maybe the check they're writing to their spouse is going to be pretty substantial, but they knew what they were going to do. They were smart about legal fees, and they did a very good job with it. And so really it just depends on how much fighting there is. And just some other costs to think about is if you go the full litigation process, where you get an...


0222: Divorce Funding with Nicole Noonan, CEO of New Chapter Capital, Inc.

To get in touch with Nicole Noonan, visit newchaptercapital.com or call (212) 404-7807. Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. Shawn Leamon: All right. Today we have Nicole Noonan. She is the CEO of New Chapter Capital, which is a firm that deals with a topic we haven't covered in a while, but a very important one, which is divorce funding. Nicole, welcome to the show. Nicole Noonan: Thanks so much. Happy to be here. Yeah. Shawn Leamon: Why don't you tell us what New Chapter Capital does? What is divorce funding? What does that mean? Nicole Noonan: So New Chapter Capital and divorce funding provides liquidity for individuals going through a divorce, that would not otherwise have access to it. So we provide an advance against the potential settlement. And the advance can be used for legal fees, expert costs, and for living expenses. Nicole Noonan: And this is something that I saw, in my own practice, a real need for, where one spouse had more money than the other. And they cut up their credit cards, and try to back them into taking a settlement less than what they're entitled to. Shawn Leamon: And so, to simplify, I mean, liquidity is money. So you're giving them the funds to get through the divorce process. Nicole Noonan: Exactly. Yeah. Shawn Leamon: And the objective then is to level the playing field, it sounds like. Nicole Noonan: Right, right. So they can go out and hire the right attorneys, the right experts. We don't want someone to have, I'm going to use a generalization, their husbands go out. They're the money, the bread earners. They're going to go hire top counsel for the divorce. Nicole Noonan: And the wife is going to have to go borrow money from friends or family and go hire someone who's fresh out of law school. And this is their first divorce case. We don't want that. We want them to have equal representation. And that's what they're entitled to. Shawn Leamon: Yeah. So I think a lot of people, I mean, anyone who's not the primary breadwinner in the house, if there is one, probably is at a pretty significant disadvantage, at least from my experience, in terms of having the available money to go and start paying legal fees. Shawn Leamon: I was just talking to someone yesterday. And they had some money in savings, but basically drained all of it within the first month or so of the process. How does someone know that they'll be a good candidate? How do you figure out whether they should contact you? Kind of gives me the overview, as someone should evaluate kind of this divorce funding, versus using credit cards, or borrowing from family and friends, as you mentioned. How does someone think about that? Nicole Noonan: Yeah, no. So, we always say, people save for their wedding. You plan for the wedding, the dress, the cake, the caterers, the band. So when it comes time to divorce, no one's sitting there planning for a rainy day divorce. So if you don't have access to your own money, you're going to have to go to friends or family, potentially, or you're going to have to take out credit cards. Nicole Noonan: Now, that being said, not everyone needs to have an attorney. Not everyone needs full-blown litigation. I always say, it's best to sit down with your spouse, if you can, open up a bottle of wine, have dinner. And say, "Hey, these are my 10 non-negotiables. What are your 10?" And hash it out as much as possible. Because you'd rather send your child to college than send your attorney's child's at college. Nicole Noonan: But that's not always a possibility. That being said, if you're fighting over ... There's case law, very interesting things. I get it for animals. People want to fight over animals. But fighting over your baseball card collection, or your Nintendo set. Or fighting over something with no value, it's really not worth putting a fight on something like that. Nicole Noonan: So what we say is, if there's an asset, usually it's...


0221: Why You Don’t Want the Most “Aggressive” Divorce Attorney

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. One of the challenges of picking a divorce attorney is finding the right type of attorney or type of personality of an attorney to work with you and for you during the divorce process. There can be a lot of different styles of attorney. Sometimes you want an attorney that is more there towards working towards a resolution and won't run up your bill, but you also want an attorney who is going to advocate for you and fight for you. One of the things I want to cover in this particular episode is why you want to avoid hiring the most aggressive divorce attorney. You'll see a lot of attorneys out there who claim to be the dog, the bulldog, the fighter. They're going to go all-in and advocate for you and fight for you on every issue and make sure that you're there to win. In fact, if you think about the way that divorce attorneys are represented in movies, oftentimes the attorney's going to be that pit bull aggressive, sports car driving, fancy suit, 35th floor in a downtown office. An attorney that is there to be aggressive and fight. But I want to give some considerations when it comes to choosing an attorney as to why that might not be the ideal in terms of picking the most aggressive person. And there are four big topics I want to cover in terms of an aggressive attorney. The first is that going to court is expensive. Second is aggressive does not equal respect in the legal community. The third is aggressive doesn't mean effective. And finally, fourth is that an aggressive attorney can be emotionally draining. So, I'm going to go through these four points. And just keep in mind when you're thinking about your attorney selection, you're thinking about the divorce process, you're thinking about how these processes go, is ultimately you're going to need to get to a resolution. Most people listening want to get to some form of a settlement, and it requires some negotiating ability. Now, everything being lopsided, it doesn't mean you cave in and give in to the other side, but you want someone who is there to advocate for you, but help you get to a resolution, not just fight for fighting sake. And so, the first point in this is going to court is expensive. If you get an aggressive attorney, you will constantly be fighting absolutely every issue, there'll be a motion for every issue, you'll have lots and lots of legal work that's done. And anything that your spouse or soon to be ex-spouse brings up, whether it's valid or not, is going to be challenged, even when it's not justified to be challenged. And sometimes it is going to ultimately hurt you, not harm you. And so, when you have overly aggressive attorneys, oftentimes you don't get to a point where there's a resolution and you end up going to trial or having many, many court dates. And the process takes twice as long and is five times more expensive because you're fighting every issue. The second point is aggressive attorneys aren't always respected both by judges and the legal community. And remember, when I use the word aggressive, I do mean the person who fights for fighting sake. If you know that someone's always going to fight every particular issue, whether it's big or tiny and irrelevant in the overall process of things, that person starts to lose their credibility. I mean, imagine, and I use an example that's actually a true example, but let's just say you have $300 worth of dishes at home. You know, you have your plates and your bowls and your cups and whatever else, but seven motions later and 14 hours of legal work later, you have now spent $5,000 or more on trying to get those cups and plates going to your house and not your ex-spouse. And that's kind of the thing, where you would have been better off just letting this issue be rather than fighting over every detail attached to it. And so, when you're fighting over every little issue, there comes a point...


0220: Do You Need A Divorce Attorney?

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode and the next several episodes, I want to discuss divorce attorneys, and family law attorneys, and the details and choices amongst them. And how you can figure out whether or not you have a good attorney, how to find a good attorney to make sure your attorney is fighting for and advocating for you and the complexities of the attorney selection and just relationship management process. I'm a huge fan of divorce attorneys and having them help represent you, but like in all industries, there are people who are really good at their job and some people who, let's just say, politely, may need some improvement. And attorneys are no different. There are some excellent family law attorneys out there who will do a good job for you at a reasonable price. And there are some attorneys out there who will cause a mess of things, and you end up spending tens of thousands of dollars or more. And on top of that, not getting anything done. And I want you to avoid that scenario. But in this particular episode, I want to focus on, do you need an attorney? And what situations that might exist where you don't need an attorney to help you. And let's just start with the basics. Do you need one? Well, your attorney is going to have, if you work with one, is probably going to have one of the biggest impacts in terms of how this divorce process goes for you. And same is the selection of the attorney of your spouse. A good attorney or good set of attorneys, will keep things moving forward at a reasonable clip people will, of course, have disagreements, this is divorce, but they'll do them civilly and you won't end up spending more money and time and energy than you have to. And if you get a bad attorney, this process is going to be an additional nightmare on top of nightmares. Not only will you lose a lot in your divorce, and when I say lose a lot, I mean, money, time, energy, but the outcome will likely be pretty poor as well. And so, you need to be very careful about who you choose as an attorney. And so, it's one of the most important things that you can do when it comes to the divorce process. But some people ask me, I get this question all the time is, "Do I need an attorney or can I do it myself?" And I know a lot of people are hesitant to fork over thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to an attorney to help with their issues. And sometimes, I get people who'll say, "Well, my issues are pretty simple. I think I can handle most of this." And a lot of times I'll talk to you and say, "Yeah, you have a pretty good handle on things, but you should still consult an attorney or at least consider it." And there are other times where people don't really need that much legal help because they and their spouse agree on most of the issues. And so, can they do it themselves? A few things I tell people when it comes to whether or not they need an attorney. The first thing, of course, is that divorce is complicated. There are a lot of details in order to come up with a divorce settlement, a divorce agreement, or ultimately if you are one of the handful of people who has to go to trial. I mean, there's a lot of details involved even in the simplest of situations. And you need to be prepared to have a handle on that and understand all of those complexities. The second thing is, it's very, very easy to make mistakes in the divorce process. The mistakes that people think of, which are, are they getting the right financial deal for them? Did they structure a custody agreement the right way? Are they doing what's within the bounds of the law when they come up with an agreement? Those are common things. But there are also issues where did you fill out that divorce paperwork the right way? And is the clerk going to reject it? And you have to reject it after 60 days of it sitting there in the office and say, Oh, you didn't fill this out...


0219: How to Conserve Cash & Save Money During The Pandemic

EP 0219: How to Conserve Cash & Save Money During The Pandemic Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode, I want to discuss preparing your finances during a recession and how to conserve as much cash and capital you can during this time period. It's not purely a divorce topic, but it has some general financial discussions in here. And there's some things I want you to think about. As I'm recording this, there's something like almost 30 million American adults out of work. The unemployment rate is high. A lot of states have been locked down, and some are slowly starting to reopen, but the economy has fundamentally changed. And just a few months ago, at the beginning of 2020, there was a great economy, and then that changed in the span of about a week or two. And a lot of people have lost jobs or are on unemployment or some combination of those. And when you're on a budget, regardless of your lifestyle and your income, oftentimes a big decrease like what has happened recently can completely change your lifestyle, your budgeting, your plans, and it can be hard at a certain point if you've exhausted your savings or are getting close to it to figure out ways to conserve some additional money and give yourself added financial flexibility as you try and keep up with the relevant payments that you may have. And so I want to go through a few different strategies, five specific strategies to consider when it comes to this environment and some ways to improve your financial picture, particularly if your income is down, but your expenses have remained the same or your expenses have even increased given everything that's going on. And so I'm going to go through five things and I'm just going to start them now. The first is to check and understand your spending. You should have a very good handle on your expenses. If you haven't completed a financial affidavit or statement of net worth, oftentimes they ask you for your monthly expenses. One of the things you should be doing is really understanding what those expenses are, how they look, what can be cut from your expenses. I look at every transaction every month and I go through and I say, "Hey, do all these transactions look good? Where do I spend too much? Could I cut something here or there to make sure that I'm not spending too much?" And when your budget is tight, you have to realize that even small things add up. I'll use a very simple example, is if you pay $10 a month for Netflix ... I don't know the exact Netflix price at the moment, but let's just say you pay $10 a month for Netflix, and that's $120 a year over five years, that is $600 of spending on Netflix. I always look at those small subscriptions as a five year commitment, and you can realize that $10 a month can add up pretty quickly, much less if you have an expense that's $50 a month or $120 a month or more. And so you need to really think about those expenses and what you may be able to cut. The second thing is if you have debt of any kind, be it a credit card, student loan, personal loan, mortgage, whatever, you can negotiate with your lenders. Under normal economic environment times, people were not as willing to defer or adjust your payment schedule, but now given the millions of people in very tough situations, and you may be one of them, there are ways to lower your payments in the short-term so that you have some flexibility and in the long-term, you're going to make up for it. But doing and cutting what you can in the short-term can be helpful. When it comes to a student loan or a credit card or personal loan, you can pay ... Sometimes they'll let you just pay the interest. Maybe you can't pay the principal balance, so if you have ... I'm just going to make up a student loan, for example. Well, let's say you pay $1,000 a month on a student loan. Well, 500 of the $1,000 might be going to interest, and 500 of that $1,000 may be...


0218: A Simple Breathing Techniques to Manage Stress

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. This week, I want to cover a slightly different type of episode. How can you manage stress the instant you are experiencing it? Oftentimes life can feel overwhelming, and finding ways to manage all of those feelings without shutting down is essential to our well-being. Here’s a technique that I find helpful and in fact, use frequently to manage stress – it’s very simple. It’s a deep breathing technique where you count to 10. What do I mean by that? Listen to this latest podcast for more on this guaranteed technique to help you ease stress the minute you feel it.


0217: Divorce, Custody & Support Tips during COVID-19

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode, I want to do a more timely addition of the Divorce and Your Money episode. As you know, clearly if you're listening to this that there is a big virus going around and businesses are closed. Courts are closed to most extent. And a lot has changed in the span of just a few weeks. And depending upon where you are, the severity has changed quite a bit. But, many life-altering changes, and I wanted to discuss its impact on the divorce process and some things that you may want to consider during the coronavirus epidemic, or pandemic I should say. There are some helpful tips in here and just a hodgepodge of ideas I wanted to go through and some frequently asked questions and thoughts as you consider everything that's going on. There's a few big things that have happened all at the same time. First, of course, is the virus. The second is the employment situation has changed. As I record this, over 3 million people have reported that they have filed for unemployment, and that number will go up, I'm sure, over the coming weeks. Also, the stock market is down quite a bit, and a lot of people are in much tougher situations than they found themselves just a month ago when ... Well, you still have the divorce part, but at least the economy was good, market was up, and everything else. So I want to give you some things to consider and things that you can do. The first thing is that across the country and just about every attorney I've talked to in every state I've talked to, court's closed. Now, they're not closed, closed for absolutely everything because the legal system is very important. But for anything that's not essential, the court is likely closed. So what does that mean for you? Well, it means for many things you cannot go get them resolved. So if you have a session in front of a judge that's not immediately urgent or an emergency, it will likely be delayed for several months. And unfortunately, because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of delays happening at the same time, things are going to take a lot longer once we start to reestablish some form of normalcy. Now, if you have an emergency order for some reason, and you will have to have an attorney to help you with this, at least I recommend one, emergency orders, almost universally, are still going through in courts across the country. But it has to be a true emergency for a court to want to hear it and for you to get a resolution on that particular issue that may be occurring, so there's something to that point. Now, if you want to resolve your situation, your divorce case, and court is not available at the moment, what are your options? Well, if you are in a position to mediate or negotiate a settlement, every attorney I know is still working. These are all small businesses for the most part. Most family law firms are small businesses. They still are working the same way they would. Now, of course everyone is remote. I've always been remote. So for better, for worse, this hasn't changed a drop of my day-to-day life. But attorneys are working remote, and so you can still work towards negotiating a settlement as if nothing mattered. Now, will you be able to file the final paperwork? Probably not. Or at least it may get delayed until you get the final sign-off, but everything is still possible to make progress in terms of a divorce case or issues you are facing. Now, if you have to have a court date for something and that would be essential to your process, that's not going to happen anytime soon. But at least in terms of making progress, if you're willing to do that, and your spouse is willing to do that, and the attorneys are willing to do that, you can still resolve. I still have plenty of people that I know that I'm working with who are making progress like they would normally, even though the court itself is closed, and that is an option...


0216: Divorce Mediation: Interview with Susan Guthrie, Family Law Attorney, Mediator, and Host of Divorce & Beyond Podcast

In this episode, we have an interview with Susan Guthrie - Family Law Attorney, Mediator, and Host of Divorce & Beyond Podcast. Learn more about Susan here: https://divorceinabetterway.com/. Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. Shawn: In the beginning of the process, as you're doing your research, one of the most important things you can do is figure out what are your options and what are the best ways to proceed during the divorce process. And know that the traditional method of divorce litigation is not the only method that exists when it comes to the divorce process, and you may have options. There's mediation, there's collaborative divorce. But in this particular episode, I want to discuss mediation, and to do that, I'm bringing in a great guest. Shawn: Her name is Susan Guthrie. She is a family law attorney with over 30 years of experience. And she's going to give us an overview of some of the key things about mediation to think about. She'll describe the process really well in this episode. And the other thing that's interesting about mediation is that there's the possibility for online mediation. And so, there may be some advantages to that as well. So, I hope you enjoy the interview with Susan Guthrie and also be sure to check out her podcast. She has a really good podcast that's called Divorce and Beyond. So, without further ado, here's my interview with Susan. Shawn: Today on the show I have with me Susan Guthrie. Susan is a family law attorney, mediator, and a podcast host of her own. Susan, welcome to the show. Susan: Thank you, Shawn. I'm so pleased to be here. Thank you for having me. Shawn: Susan, let's start with ... actually, I just want to start with the podcast so other people can listen to it. It's great. I recently did an interview on it. Why don't you tell us about your podcast? Susan: Thank you. Yes, and by the way, your episode is doing very, very well. People are always interested in Divorce and Their Money, it's called, my podcast is, Divorce and Beyond. It's really focused on, I've been a divorce attorney and a mediator for 30 years, so I bring that insider knowledge to the divorce process, and bring experts on to help with that, such as yourself. But I also am very much focused on the beyond, because divorce is really a finite time in your life or I certainly hope that it is, and you have a future ahead. So, many of our episodes are focused on preparing for the beyond, preparing for your future. Shawn: Great, and I encourage everyone to listen to it. There's lots of great episodes on there and you bring a great collection of interview guests on there as well. That's really interesting. Susan: Oh, thank you. Shawn: So, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background. I know you said you practiced for 30 years, but why don't you give us your credentials so to speak? So, we all understand who we're listening to. Susan: I have practiced as a family law attorney and still do to some degree for 30 years. My original State of practice was Connecticut, and I was located there in Fairfield County for 25 years or so, with a pretty traditional law practice. Then, branched out on my own and started moving around the country. I moved to California first, so I'm also licensed to practice law there. But I also segued my practice over to mediation, and in fact, that's all from a divorce perspective that I do in the process of helping couples negotiate and settle their divorce issues. I now live in Chicago. Susan: My practice is now entirely online, and I help people both through online divorce mediation services as well as legal coaching services around the world because I can do it online. I feel very lucky that I have been a divorce attorney and operating at a fairly high level. I dealt with a lot of high conflict and high net worth cases during my litigation practice. So, as you mentioned, I have access to a large...


0215: Top 10 Must-Follow Divorce Tips - Part 3

Visit us at divorceandyourmoney.com for the #1 divorce resources in the USA and get personalized help. In this episode, we're continuing the series on the top 10 divorce tips, and I want to go through tips number seven through 10. In the previous two episodes, I went through one through six, and now we're going to go through the last four. Tip number seven is keep your spouse from spying on you. What do I mean by this? Well, one of the things that's really important, whether you're planning for divorce or going through divorce is, or even after divorce, is making sure that your private information remains private. And that means you don't necessarily want your spouse to have access to your emails or your computer or all the sensitive communications that are going on during the divorce process and afterwards. And you want to start setting up your own independent online accounts so that you can keep that information private. And I don't just mean online accounts, I also mean physical accounts as well. So specifically is, I'll start with some electronic things. So you're going to want a different phone number. It's not good when you see X, Y, Z Divorce Firm popping up on your phone and your phone bill. So if you can set up or even better yet, get a new phone just for divorce communications, that's a good idea. And the nice thing is, is that a smartphone these days is pretty cheap on Amazon or if you go into the store. And so you can get a phone for $25, $30.00 a month, and that allows you a new phone number, new way to communicate and a very private line for all of the various private things that go on during the divorce process. I encourage you to consider getting a new computer. It's worth it to get a new tablet or new computer. Also, not a very large investment these days, so you can surf, do all of the relative online things with privacy and not be tracked by your spouse. Definitely get a new email address. If you use AOL, go to Gmail. If you use Gmail, go to Yahoo. If you use Yahoo, go to a different service. One of the things that happens all the time is your spouse may have access to your emails. And something that happens all the time with the phone is that your phone's linked to an email account, so when you take a picture of a document or something, all of a sudden that picture shows up on all of your devices that your spouse is going to login to their pictures, and they'll be saying, "Oh, new picture added." You'll have a picture of a retainer agreement or picture of a financial document or a picture of something else. And if you don't have all of these things separated, you're going to unintentionally be providing your spouse access to everything. So non-online things is get your own bank account. If you are at a bank, like Bank of America, get an account at a different bank. Go to Chase, go to Citi Bank, go to whatever your local bank is, a bank that you don't traditionally use. Because all too often, and I this every week, is where a bank teller starts sharing information about accounts they shouldn't be sharing information on, because you're still banking with your soon to be ex-spouse. Get a new physical address. It's very easy to set up a P.O. Box for mailing things or one of those mailboxes at a UPS store, very cheap, very easy to do. And you don't have to keep all of these things permanently, but during the divorce process, very well worth doing. And also monitor your credit report, just to make sure that there's no new accounts being added or new cards being taken out, just making sure that you understand that you have all of the right information. So that's tip number seven. Tip number eight is avoid court, if you can. I talked about this recently in an interview that I'll be sharing with you in a few episodes. But one of the things that you should try and avoid is don't think that judges have your best interests in mind. Don't think that you're going to have lots of time in court. Don't think...