There are so many aspects to look after when you are going throw a divorce. You can easily neglect one or two. When you look at the to-do list it can be overwhelming and usually you can not handle everything by yourself and this is why you ask for help. The tricky part here is, we tend to focus on what we ‘think’ we can handle and may only ask for a piece of advice on what looks complicated to us from the wrong set of people. When this happens you end up asking someone to do something that they are actually not qualified to do or do not specialize in. Even with good intentions, a lawyer or a solicitor can provoke critical financial damage to us as it is not really within their scope to advice. 

This episode is all about the details we should consider to make the right choice on behalf of our financial future. We talk about the questions we need to ask ourselves to avoid costly mistakes and financial risks that will harm us. 

So let’s get into it:

Timestamps:

Where and how I have started my journey through divorce.[00:02:00]

Sink or swim. [00:03:00]

One of the biggest mistakes all of us make.[00:05:00]

What if self-doubt hit us?[00:07:00]

The mistakes lawyers can make that will affect us. [00:09:00]

The right questions to ask yourself about assets. [00:12:00]

Why we do a Divorce Roadmap. [00:13:00]

Links:

Online Course – 4 Simple Steps to Financial Security – Guaranteed:

https://tanyasomerton.com/4-simple-steps-to-financial-security-guaranteed/ 

My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce

https://tanyasomerton.com/shop/the-jelly-bean-jar/

Join my Free Facebook Group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/divorceangel/

Divorce Roadmap Session:

https://tanyasomerton.com/divorce-roadmap/

Transcription:

Hello, and welcome to the divorce Angel podcast. Thanks for listening, I’m so grateful that you’re here. If you’ve been listening for the last few weeks or right from the start, I want to say thank you. I am so honoured that you take or spend the time listening to the content I put out there. 

In a lot of cases, the content that I talk about is either something that I have struggled with or something that I see my clients dealing with and think that other people could benefit from that information.

0:36  

Now, if you’ve been following me long enough, you probably have heard my story. I was married for 22 years. And around the 16-year mark, I started to think that things weren’t right. 

To be honest, I’d fallen out of love with my ex-husband. My husband lost our business through some bad business decisions and also

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because of gambling. 

For me now, from that, there were all these other consequences that I needed to deal with. It was pretty hard at the time. When we separated I had been looking after our children for the majority of their life, and I was very lucky. 

I don’t look back at my marriage and think for any reason that it was bad, good, or even indifferent. It just was what it was. 

[02:00:00]

I’m where I am today. Luckily enough for me. What I wanted to talk about today is my journey through the legal system when I did get a divorce and what I found to be my greatest frustration and how my business came about. When my ex-husband and I separated, I had no means of supporting myself. 

We had a family business and I’d worked in it. I say that word loosely. I ended up getting a job at the airport where my brother worked. It was probably the turning point for me because it gave me a whole lot of independence. It allowed me to meet new and wonderful people. 

I mean, wonderful people, people that a lot of others would never come in contact with. I’ve met the Dalai Lama. 

There was quite a lot of stars that came through the airport.  Was I starstruck? No, it was nice to meet them. It was good to say to someone, for instance, Beyonce is half the size that I thought she would be. She’s very tiny.

It was all of those sorts of things that made the job interesting and when I was going through my divorce, it was just good to put my mind to something else. 

I got this job and needed to learn how to be independent and had to get into the corporate world. I hadn’t been in that environment for a long period. 

I was going to my job at the airport, learning everything about my new life. It is like you’ve got floaties on or training wheels again when you are not married anymore, everything’s changed. You’ve got to start again.

3:27  

At the airport, I also had a risk assessment against me by the AFP. That was because of the people that were in my precinct and who I needed to look after. They weren’t the nicest sort of people. But that all added to what I now refer to as my university degree in life.

I was lucky enough to be allowed to have a job and a role that pushed me well and outside of my home. I felt fear, and I was outside of my comfort zone, I had to either sink or swim. 

The thing was, I had to swim because here I was, all of a sudden starting over again. Then I went out and interviewed some lawyers and did a little bit of diligence on who might have been the best person for me. 

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is expecting their lawyer or their solicitor to be able to give them financial advice. A lawyer or a solicitor is not a financial advisor. It is not their job to be telling you what assets you should be taking from your family. 

I went to my lawyer and I explained my story. Then I said to her, are you able to have a chat with my financial advisor and accountant and see what is best for moving on here? 

She said, look, that’s not my job. That’s not what I do. You need to go and talk to them and come back and tell me what you think is best for you. 

So there I was, I went off again, I told my whole story all over again to my accountant. And you know, you just get sick of telling it. You get sick when you have the hindsight: “This is now my reality. This is my life. This is what I need to deal with”

Then I would go from my accountant who said: “Look, I’m not sure. I can’t give you that advice, you need to go and speak to your financial advisor”

Off again I go, it was just a perpetual wheel I felt of telling my same story over and over again. And the thing is, when you’ve got friends and other people in your life, you can tell them what you want to tell them. You don’t need to tell them everything. 

But when you’re talking finances, you have to put everything out on the table because when you pay an expert, all of that information could be critical to the outcome, whether it be capital gains tax, because if you sell something, whether it’s some sort of implication on a beneficiary on life insurance.

Every person has an ability and their expertise or subject matter expertise is what helps you what you pay for and what helps you get the outcome that you want. Here I was going from person to person and I just thought this is ridiculous. I’ve hired them to act on my behalf. But they are not talking between them. There’s no team mentality. I was just playing this solo game of walking from person to person.

7:18  

The issue is when you’re going through a separation, you’ve got so much to deal with. And at the time, I was dealing with all of these other things that were going on in my job. 

Can I do this? The self-doubt of, I’ve no longer have the family and everything else that I knew that was the stability. Everything was just completely up in the air. And it just seemed to continue on and on. 

I realized at that stage that I was the person that everyone should be working to help and support. Today we have some other businesses such as Collaborative Law out there that try to do it this way. And they try to have everyone in the room and get the right outcome.

8:15  

Collaborative Law is very good in some instance. The Americans have it down pat, we in Australia still have a long way to go because it’s still very expensive.

The key is understanding what you want and need out of this.

I’ve talked about this client before. When I first met her, she was about to sign consent orders. Consent orders are the documents that go into the court at the end of a relationship that the lawyers have drawn up. 

They have listed bit by bit what each party will take what bills are getting paid out, what transfers are being done, who owns what car, all of that sort of stuff. They fully outline everything in regards to your relationship.

9:10  

And this client came to me and she said: “I’m just about to sign these consent orders, but I’ve been given your name, would you be able to just have a look over them?”

As a family, the couple had six properties, five investment properties and a primary place of residence. 

The lawyers had negotiated that one party would keep three houses and the other party would keep the other three houses. 

The lawyer that this client had gone to was a female lawyer, and she knew nothing about finances or bad investment properties. 

When I was looking through this lady’s information, I said to her: ” You are keeping three houses and your ex-husband the other three houses. Has anyone done any work around the feature prospects of these properties?”

She said: “Well, I’m not sure what you mean”

I told her to leave it with me and I would get back to her. One of the properties was in a mining town, the mortgage was $ 300,000. And when I ran a report on the house, the house at that particular time, was only worth around $120,000. So she would have taken on an asset where the property was worth less than what the loan was.

10:40  

The second half was being rented out but was ran down and needed a hell of a lot of work on it to have it in a pristine condition.

She was taking another asset that needed a lot of work. And then the third property was outside of Melbourne. And it wasn’t in a high growth area or anything like that. 

When I looked at the houses that the husband was keeping, they were the cream of the crop. So they’d been able to negotiate that the husband was keeping all of the good properties and the wife was getting all of the bad ones. 

That the husband’s fault? Probably not. He’s lawyer put together an agreement for the other side, the other lawyer looked at it and thought, well on face value, it seems to be okay. It’s even. 

And the client that ended up working with us was about to sign up for something that she would have been working forever to keep.  I think she was 54 years old school teacher. If she needed to refinance those lines, she would have been in a hell of a lot of trouble because the debt to asset ratio wasn’t very good. 

The point is your solicitor or your lawyer is not a financial expert, you need to fully understand what it is that you want out of your relationship and why you need to do complete due diligence on every asset.

12:05  

If you’re going to take over an asset and it’s an investment asset, will they be stamp duty associated with the sale of that? And who’s going to take that one if you sell a property? You’ve already transferred a title for that property? 

Does that mean that if you’re not only going to keep it for a short period, you’ve got to pay for this selling costs and those sorts of things? 

That’s why a divorce strategy is so important. People don’t realize how important it is.

When I was going through my divorce, I realized that there were no rules. There were no rules on who looked after this. There is no one and they’re saying that we must be doing proper due diligence on someone’s financial circumstances. 

Instead, it’s just let’s divide this and let’s divide that. I want you to be mindful of this. You get one chance to get it right, you get one chance to understand what your future looks like and be future-focused. 

In the last few podcasts, we’ve done a lot around finances and money, you get one chance. I can only repeat it so many times you get one chance to get this right. I do not stand for people that just want to fight for the sake of fighting. It needs to be fair and reasonable, but it needs to be done in a manner that is right for each person in the relationship.

13:43  

If you are thinking of hiring a lawyer, make sure you go and have a full understanding of what it is that you want out of the relationship. 

Understand the benefits for you personally because it seemed, if I can teach you anything from my experience, is that I just got sick to death of talking about how bad my life was, what happened, the situation I was in. I wanted to tell it to one person. 

That’s what we do the divorce roadmap with our clients. We do it once, we put it all in writing. It goes out to all of the experts, or who I like to call my army of angels and we help our client from that position. 

It comes from a joint position, we’re all on the same page and we work for our clients best interest. That’s what you need to do as well. 

If you’re going to manage your lawyer, you need to make sure that your financial advisor is involved, your accountant too and you’ve thought through everything because it’s really important to get this right. 

As you can tell, I get on my high horse about this stuff because it means so much for me. People work a lifetime to earn and to build assets and then, unfortunately, during a divorce can give them away at a drop of a hat without really understanding what they’re doing. 

I’m going to repeat it, your lawyer or solicitor is not a financial expert, and you need to be explaining to them what it is that you want, as if this breakup and why and you need to be across it.

So until next time, thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you soon. Bye for now.

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