How to prepare an exit strategy to leave your marriage.’

In today’s episode #003, we are going to discuss,’How to prepare an exit strategy to leave your marriage,’ and what is involved. This is a follow-up question asked in the ‘Divorce Angel Facebook group’ and something a lot of people struggle with.

It all comes down to a solid plan and being able to execute it safely. You should really have a holistic and secure approach to ending your marriage, which requires a fully thought through exit strategy.

Including the required steps needed to put in place and be prepared before talking to your spouse?

Such as:

What does my future look like?

If I leave how much money will I have or require to pay my bills?

Where will I live?

What will the kids do and how will this decision affect their quality of life?

Do I need to get another job to support a higher income?

Am I prepared for the consequences?

Financial Survival is what keeps a lot of people with ‘The Devil they Know’ even if they are unhappy. So addressing the financial side is normally the biggest hurdle.

So what does your exit strategy look like and your future plan for yourself and how will you achieve it? Those questions answer in this episode.

 

Timestamps:

We need to have a holistic approach to this issue. [00:01:00]

Different categories of Divorce. A, B & C.[00:04:00]

Being prepared before having a conversation with your spouse. [00:07:00]

What is an exit strategy?[00:09:00]

Carrying out a Divorce Roadmap Session and the reasons why.[00:11:00]

The different options available to keeping the family home and what I did. [00:14:00]

Why yelling and screaming gets you nowhere.[00:20:00]

Harvard study on goal setting.[00:22:00]

What does my future look like? [00:24:00]

Links:

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

Learn more about completing a Divorce Roadmap Session

Click here if you would like to join my Divorce Angel Facebook Group 

Transcription

How to prepare an exit strategy to leave your marriage

Hello, welcome back to the Divorce Angel podcast. This is episode three, and this week, we’re going to talk about how to prepare an exit strategy to leave your marriage. So, let’s get into it.

Welcome to Divorce Angel podcast and thank you for joining us. Get ready to uncover the strategies everyone can implement for a successful separation and divorce. This will save you valuable time, money, and emotions while learning the secrets to your happy ever after. Now, your host, my wife, Tanya Somerton.

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So excited to be back with you today, I just thought we could all have a chat around what’s your exit strategy and the required steps you need to take to leave your marriage. Last week, we had a chat because of one of my beautiful members in my Facebook group. If you don’t know about that, that is the Divorce Angel Facebook group. Come along and join in if you want some extra help and support because that we’re there do to.Last week, one of my beautiful members asked, when is the right time to leave your marriage? We talked about that at depth in our first podcast, but no one really can answer that. It’s funny because we need to have a holistic approach to this issue. It’s not only just, when is the right time to leave? Part of that is also, what is our exit strategy and what required steps do you need to have in place before we leave because we just can’t get up and expect that everything will go to plan and what we see on a day-to-day basis is certainly the people that want to put an exit strategy in place will get a much better outcome because part of the decision-making process is going through what your future will look like. So, if I leave, how much money will I have? Where will I live? What will the kids do? That all has a bearing on our quality of life. It might mean that before we do leave our relationship and we spoke about that last week, do we need to get another job? Do we need to have high income to be able to survive and live the life that we’ve been used to?In a lot [00:02:00] of cases, people stay longer than they should because not only are they used to the devil they know but in some cases, they are financially better off if they stay and they’re so worried about consequences of leaving they’d prefer to stay in, you know, a toxic environment than to leave and not know how they’re going to pay the bills how they’re going to pay the rent.So to do that really and to put your mind at ease is to have an exit strategy in place and an exit strategy not only is how you’re going to have the conversation, leave the relationship, so where each of you are going to live, but it’s also other things. So it is, what do my finances look like? How am I going to be able to pay the bills? What are the legal requirements? If I stay in the house, does that mean that I have to continue to pay the mortgage or will he pay the mortgage or she pay the mortgage when I move out? Who’s [00:03:00] the greater income earner? There’s just so many questions and unfortunately, there’s no one answer to fit all. Everyone circumstances are completely different, and I say this all the time, no two divorces are the same because it’s like DNA, we’re all completely different people. We’ve got different debts. We’ve got different assets that need to be looked after, different roles, different children. We might have a child that’s got disabilities. It could be anything. So, there’s no two relationship circumstances that are ever the same.

So, what does an exit strategy look like? In my view, there’s three different sorts of divorces and to be honest, over the last two years, I probably think that there’s a fourth. If I categorize divorce in sections, let’s talk A, B, and C. Now category A is when you have decided to leave the [00:04:00] marriage. Now, if you’re the person that’s decided to leave the marriage, what happens is you’ve been considering leaving for a period of time. In some cases, up to two years, if not longer. That means that you’ve sort of already started to remove yourself. You’re getting prepared for what your next chapter in life looks like and when you tell your partner, they’re shocked because they didn’t see it coming in most cases. That’s category A.Category B is when you are on the other side, so your partner turns up and says to you, “Unfortunately, I don’t love you anymore.And, our relationship’s not working, and our marriage is over.” That’s category B. You never ever knew it was coming. You thought everything was okay and you were looking forward to the future with your partner and you had these visions of a lovely retirement and [00:05:00] life with that person.Then, there’s category C. Category C is where neither of you are getting along. You just know that this just is not right. It’s not working and in a lot of cases, that category C relationship is very, very toxic because both of you want to blame each other for the fault in the relationship.And as I said, I now think there’s a fourth category and I’ve been working with some of that folk recently. They’re easy to work with and let’s call them category D. That is when both of you know that the relationships not working, but as we spoke about last week with left and right side thinkers, I tend to think that those guys are both left side thinkers, so they’re very planned. They’ve worked it out to a tee. In most cases, they are quite money orientated and they don’t want to spend the money, so they just go, “Right, this is over. It’s not working.” They put some [00:06:00] plans in place to look after the children to divide the assets and they just get things done.So when it comes to an exit strategy, if we’re talking about category A, so it’s your decision to leave, you really need to do some due diligence on the consequences of leaving and that comes back to up we spoke about before, what are the legal requirements, the assets and the liabilities that you’d really like to take from the relationship and can you afford to keep them and what is going to happen with the children? So, in most cases, a lot of this will have some idea where the children will go. It will depend on the children’s ages. It will depend on if you’re entitled to child support given your spouse’s income. Also, government assistance when it comes to that. That’s what you need to take into consideration when you are category A. The thing with category A is as well is before you even have the talk to your spouse, [00:07:00] I would really like to see that you’ve done a lot of that prep work before you have that conversation, so you are fully aware of the consequences and you’ve weighed it all up in your decision making process.In category B, you’re probably not even aware that this was even going to happen. You are completely blindsided and in most cases, a client who comes to me that is in category B needs the most love, care, and support because they did not even realize that there was issues with the relationship and they need a lot of counseling and they really do need some TLC. They are shell shocked by the outcome. Now, these people are also the people in a lot of cases that leave getting legal advice for quite a period of time and it takes them some time emotionally to get the courage up to actually go, “Right, this is over. The [00:08:00] person’s not coming back. I now need to do whatever it is I need to do to build my future and my life.” They can normally take up to a year to two years before they even take the steps to get some legal advice. Or they might go to a lawyer and because they are so emotionally distraught, they sometimes can be taken advantage of and legal letters will be going back and forth and they really don’t care what’s going on ‘cause they’re living in this vortex. They, probably in a lot of cases, can’t even really make a decision as to what they’re going to have for dinner because they are just so hurt and shell shocked by what’s happened.Okay, so let’s get into an exit strategy. Okay, so Google says a pre-planned means of extricating oneself from a situation that is likely to become difficult or unpleasant. It couldn’t get any better than that, could it? Now an exit strategy is primarily a business [00:09:00] or an investment turn, but coming from both the corporate and now financial background, I feel that the word exit strategy is what would have helped me a great deal when I was leaving my marriage. So instead of just letting stuff happen, I would have had a plan that I could execute and have gone through and done a little bit of due diligence on and made sure that I was making the right decisions and I was taking this and this is where it gets or can get very sort of sticky is we need to tackle these like it is a business. Now I know that sounds ridiculous because here we are talking about a marriage that you know is very highly emotional and all the rest of it and I’m telling you to tackle this like a business, but if you do your outcome will be completely different. You need to draw the line and try and remove as many negative emotions as possible because [00:10:00] if you do that, it will not only save you a lot of money, but it will also allow you to think clearly and look at the facts rather than the feelings.Now I’m a big believer and you may have heard me say this before that your thoughts are an illusion and what is the reality is how you think your thoughts. So, if you think that your partner is meaning something by something that he said, it’s how you have interpreted those words. It might not have meant what you felt it meant yet given the emotions of the situation and how you feel, you’ve taken it to mean something that it really wasn’t meant to be. So, when we think of an exit strategy, what it is, it’s a list of steps that can help us plan for both success and failure. In my business, we do this via a divorce [00:11:00] roadmap and the divorce roadmap become the strategy behind the whole divorce. So, it’s where we take a whole lot of history and then we work out what our client wants from the future. And then from there, we work at exactly the steps that need to be taken to be able to allow that person to either achieve their outcome or work with what they have in place at the moment to be able to achieve that outcome in the future.So, if we discuss some of the concerns, it could be around who’s going to live in the house. Now, am I going to move out or is my partner going to move out? When considering that it has to do with certainly who has the children and do, we want to uproot them, or do we want them to remain where they currently are. Now in most cases, the mother will stay with the children in the house. Now that happens most cases. Not all cases, but it does [00:12:00] happen in most cases. If the mother is a stay-at-home mother, but the mother wants to keep the house and she has to refinance the property which means if it’s a 50/50 title, so that means that both parties owned the house 50/50, it means that once they have a financial agreement in place, that mortgage firstly needs to be refinanced and secondly, the title needs to be transferred into the person that’s keeping the house. Now if we’re talking about the female and she doesn’t have a job and there’s not enough equity in the house, it is highly unlikely that she’s going to be able to remain in that property.Now, all these things need to be weighed up when we’re considering what we’re going to do and how we’re going to address our future. Now in my case, that was exactly where I found myself. I was [00:13:00] unable to keep the property mainly because we didn’t have enough equity in it and that meant that my mortgage, if I was to keep the house, would be so high that I would have no standard of living.Right, so today in Australia with the Royal Commission, it is very unlikely for someone who is a stay-at-home mom to get a loan because with the hems calculator and servicing, we really need to have quite a bit of surplus income to be able to remain in the property, but there’s other options. So in my case, what I did, I took that little bit of money that I got from the sale of my house and I purchased three investment properties with that money. Now by doing that, I was able to spread that money across three properties and as all three are going up in capital growth, the rents are paying for the mortgages. So, I’ve worked out a strategy for me that meets [00:14:00] my needs. Now, that’s not right for everyone, but that’s what I’ve done.What I want you to think about is don’t just consider that everything is going to be bad. There’s always other options, there’s other opportunities and things you can do and that’s where a really, really good financial advisor comes in place because you want to sit down with the financial advisor and this is what we do in our 5 steps to a seamless divorce or our concierge service, which is the Somerton method, all of these are key to our clients outcome. We don’t leave anything to fate and what we do is when we go to our lawyer, we go to the lawyer with a plan. So we’ve already gone through and worked out whether our client can afford this, can afford that, what their aspirations are for the future, what they really want to do and we hand that plan over to our lawyers.

So with my panel of lawyers as [00:15:00] well-being fee-for-service, we’re able to cut cost there, but during the preparation stage, I recommend you go to my website, which is www.tanyasomerton and on my home page, there is a downloadable and it’s 23 essential items to protect yourself during separation. Now, this is key and that will help you in that planning phase. It’ll give you some ideas of the things that you need to be mindful of and address. Now, when we move into this next point that all comes around what you are legally entitled to. So a lot of people think, “My girlfriend separated and she was entitled to this. Or my mate, he broke up with his wife and he got such and such, so I must be entitled to the same.” I hear this all the time. So clients turn up and they go, “Oh, I’m entitled to 80% and why is that? Well, that’s because my girlfriend she- you know, that’s what she got, so I must be [00:16:00] entitled to that as well.”Now, it doesn’t work like that and it’s the biggest mistake that anyone who is going through separation or a divorce makes. They make these assumptions that that is what they are legally entitled to and it doesn’t work like that. So, there’s a formula that lawyers use, and every marriage is different. It will consist of things like who bought what into the relationship, so did someone have an investment property or large bank account before they got married? Inheritances, redundancies any sort of wind falls come into it. Who stayed at home with the kids and for what duration? Who’s done most of the housework? Who’s been the higher income earner? Future needs, illnesses like the list goes on and on, so it’s just not just because my friend or family member got that, that’s what I’m entitled to. It doesn’t work like that.It’s really key to understand what it is that you [00:17:00] are possibly entitled to when you separate. As part of the exit strategy, it’s certainly something that we do when we do our divorce roadmap with our clients is we work that out as well because that becomes key because when you know what you are entitled to or within a percentage of that, you’re able to work out within a certain range what sort of dollar figure you might get or what asset you might be able to afford to keep. Now, it’s never as simple as I’m you know, making out here. There’s so much that goes into it and you need a really solid team around you to be able to help you to get all of that evidence together and get you the best outcome.And then you need to work into the last stage of this and that is where do you see yourself in the next one, three, and five years. What is it that you want to achieve and why? Understanding these questions will help you stay on track and think about the bigger [00:18:00] picture. So with a lot of clients they feel that the world has more offer and they are looking to improve their happiness and maybe their partner has been, let’s say, a little bit of a handbrake, so they haven’t been able to achieve what they really wanted to because of whether it be debts whether it because you’ve got one person that’s ambitious and the other one isn’t. So there’s a whole lot of reasons that you might want to consider leaving and some of these reasons might also be the catalyst to really not fight over the nuts and bolts of the cabinet like I spoke about last week, but with my clients, for every one dollar we spend, I want to get a three to five dollar return.

The talk of going to court is not something that we do very often because we would only do it in a very, very small number of cases. It’s not something that gets us the return that we need. But if we [00:19:00] were going to go to court, we would want to understand if it’s going to cost us $20,000, we want to make sure that we are getting, you know, sixty to a hundred thousand dollars back by spending 20,000 by going to court. So, I think it’s important that you key that up. Think about this as a business.Now, in my case, I had an urge that I was put on this Earth to help people. My ex and I had different ideas as to what that should look like and I needed to be free, so to speak. I felt like I was sort of a little bit caged and a lot of people have dreams and aspirations and after they marry, those wishes get put aside and you find yourself continually thinking about the what-if. People change and they grow apart and there’s nothing wrong with this. But the reason I bring this up is because I want you to act in a way that is full of integrity and morals. When you’re [00:20:00] ending the relationship, treat your ex how you would want to be treated yourself. Just remember that by yelling and screaming, it doesn’t get you anywhere and you’ve got to put yourself also in their situation because they’re probably hurt as well.So rather than yelling and screaming think about how they are feeling and if it was you, how you would want to be treated. Always remember that, you know, at some stage this will be over and when it’s over, you want to be friends with that person. Once you said words, they can’t be taken back. They can be forgiven, but they’re never forgotten. So, don’t say something that you might regret. Really think long and hard about what it is that you want from your future because that’s why this is so important. How you end your relationship is really the start of a new beginning and you don’t want to end something in really bad terms and [00:21:00] then think that everything the next day is going to start fresh because it just doesn’t work like that. How you end will be how you will begin the next part of your life.So, taking all that into consideration, sit down and do your goals. Sit down and work out what you want in one year and where you see yourself, what you want in three years and where you see self and again, with five years. I do this with our clients because I think it’s really key because when you get emotional and you just think you can’t keep going on, when you’ve got something that you can visually see and you’ve got a reason to keep going, it makes this journey a whole lot easier, but certainly knowing where it is that you want to get to in life because it’s like anything. Goal setting for me is such an amazing tool. It’s not something that I did until I got, you know, till it was later on in life, but I now wonder why we’re not taught it at school.Let me think. There was a [00:22:00] Harvard study and that study, they did it on a group of people who were about to take their final exams and what they did was they broke the group up into three. One group was asked to write their goals. The next group was asked just to think about their goals. And then the third group was asked not to do anything. So the first group was asked to write them down and to put together a plan on what they wanted and how they were going to achieve it and they bought those all those people, all those students back 10 years later and it was phenomenal the outcome that happened from that study, but in short what had happened is the people that had- the third that had written down their goals and had a plan had not only surpassed what they thought was achievable, they’d blown it out of the water. Now, the second [00:23:00] group that had thought about their goals and really done some work on where they wanted to go, they’d also– They hadn’t really achieved them all but they’d got quite close. But then the third group that did not even think about any of this, they were just wandering through life and really had not achieved anything.Now all these students were all in the same class. So, it wasn’t like, you know some work from say nursing and some were from legal and some were from some form of science background. They were all in the same class. I’ll see if I can find it and put that study in the file notes. But when I read that, it blew my mind because since that date I have continued to do goals and even on a daily basis, I write down my goals and it makes such a difference, so I think it’s really important that the final stages of your exit strategy really need to be around, what does my [00:24:00] future look like and what do I want to achieve?So, let’s recap on what we’ve spoken about today. So first, when considering our exit strategy and remember, definition of an exit strategy is a pre-planned means of extricating oneself from a situation that is likely to become difficult or unpleasant and then we need to ask ourselves a set of questions and they are around, who’s going to move out? Who’ll pay the mortgage? Where will the kids live? How will I afford to live? Whose name of the assets in and what is really important to me and what am I prepared to give up? There’s a list of other questions, but they will all pertain to your certain circumstances, all your individual circumstances.And then the second part of this is what are you legally entitled to and what other support might you be able to get out there? [00:25:00] So what does my legal split? What would it possibly look like? If I was to get some sort of child support or other support from a government agency, what is that? You need to ring up and find out those questions and then the third thing is just understanding what is it that you want from your life and your future and from that, you can really get a clear picture of why you’re making the decision that you’ve made because you’ve already made it. Let’s be honest, but all of a sudden, you’ve got all of the evidence that you need in place to then go start working out the best way for you and your ex to get a good outcome from this moving forward.So, I hope this has helped and it’s given you some idea of the next steps. Now if you go to my website, www.tanyasomerton.com, we have the divorce roadmap there that we can do over Skype or Zoom. It doesn’t need to be [00:26:00] face-to-face. We do them all over Australia and they are a really good strategy document so that you can go away and you can start to implement what you really need to do with the help of some professionals in this area.

Also, if you just want a little bit of other knowledge, go and get a copy of my book the Jelly Bean Jar off my website as well. So I’d love to get your feedback and understand what you think about these podcasts, and if you think that they are informative, I’d love you to subscribe, to comment, to like to share, and I will see you next week. Okay. Bye for now.

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