“When you can't change the direction of the wind – adjust your sails”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Recently I attended a granddaughter’s high school graduation. The ceremony was filled with love, warmth, reminiscence and good advice for the graduates. Among the advice given was the quote above which struck a chord for me. It is a useful approach to the challenges life throws your way. It is an especially useful approach to divorce primarily if you are the person who did not choose to be divorced.
Your spouse wanting a divorce is “the direction of the wind”. You may resist, you may drag your feet, you may engage in delaying tactics, hire an expensive litigating attorney and stall, stall, stall. Ultimately, however, you will find yourself divorced. That wind will blow and you are not going to change it as much as you may fight against it.
What you can do is control how you react or “adjust your sails”. What does this mean? For me, as a CDFA, it means that you accept the fact that the divorce is inevitable. Then, you plan, plan, plan and plan some more particularly when it comes to the finances. Make sure you know and understand the monthly income you need to support your lifestyle: pay the mortgage and utilities, insurance, food, clothing, car.
Plan for what may be ahead: college for the kids, retirement, unexpected heath care expenses. The more you know about your finances, the more in control you are. Don’t react to or reject an offer from your spouse just to be difficult or vengeful. You will only prolong the agony – your own. Through your attorney, or in mediation, lay out an approach to asset division and child or spousal support that will enable both of you to have a good financial footing.
Don’t fight the wind - the divorce will happen.
Do adjust your sails - what your life looks like on the other side is up to you.