Divorce and Finances Qs?

Hi smart people,

My mom is asking my dad for a divorce. What financial planning should she do? Is there advice I can give her? She’s always had a job and has a career but has never had to do any of the finances. Basically went from her parents home to her “husband’s home” at 19. I think she’s getting a work subsidized CFP.

I love my dad but I have a feeling he’s gonna take this pretty hard in the toxic man bits and have some kind of meltdown so just want her to be able to get the cash she needs from him to retire when she needs to (she does not have nearly enough now). My dad has millions and lots of political/law enforcement ties in our community. He’s a really good guy but really old school and this is gonna devastate him… I just believe that even the best people need some support in staying civil. Certainly his family will.

Sidebar, I also have really complicated feelings about helping one parent leave the other but know that I need to. So if you’ve been through a garbage experience like this I’d love to talk to you.


She needs to talk to a lawyer, friend. Different things are illegal in different places. A lawyer will have seen this before and can give good advice.


Fortunately it seems like she’s talked to a couple. I am just really nervous on how this is gonna play out.


That’s legit. This is going to suck so much.


For example, the house is a few million and its in her name. But dad’s parent’s and sibling’s family lives with us. My mom has been advised not to leave the house but she says she doesn’t want to cause any trouble and is afraid of the confrontation and wants to move out. I cannot reason with her.


Oh that’s so hard :frowning:

Maybe you could gently point out to her that no matter what there will be trouble, that’s what happens even when it’s mutual, and you are trying to make sure she’s not making hasty choices that hurt more later.


Lawyer lawyer lawyer. Including for leaving the house, finding accounts etc. Women’s organizations also have great social workers who can help


There are two ways to do this:

  1. Mediator
  2. Shark

When the balance of power is unequal, as it appears to be in your mother’s case, a shark might be called for. Urge her to retain an attorney and to listen to them. Resist the urge to get in the middle. Correct response is always: “What does the attorney say, Mom? They are the pros. I think you should do what they tell you to do.”


Things will not go well if she does major conflict avoiding behaviour. No matter what this will be ugly and painful.


I’m so sorry your family is going through this bad time. I agree that mediation won’t be appropriate if your father is acting out, but could work if he gets it together.

For me, the divorce was my ex’s idea and we did our negotiating, but I consulted with a lawyer. I really needed someone to tell me what I was entitled to. I think for a lot of women, there is a tendency not to ask for enough, and it can really hurt us.

Good luck!


I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I watched H’s parents go through it and it wasn’t pretty. I second the advice about not leaving the home, my MIL did that and it was bad for her in our state. I hope she finds a trustworthy attorney and that things go smoothly as possible!


If courts are in session going in to observe a few days of family court hearings can be very educational and helps to demystify the process. If she hasn’t already signed with an attorney to represent her it might help her find some leads, too.

She definitely needs a lawyer and a good understanding of what she is entitled to under the laws in her jurisdiction.


My favorite anecdote on divorce concerns the parents of a long-time friend. The husband had been gay and closeted for many years, and when he came out to his wife, she was relieved. Her quote: “Thank goodness! I thought it was me all these years.” They remained dear friends until his death. And still, even with all that, there were angry moments in their divorce. Each person has their own idea of what is fair, and the adversarial nature of divorce tends to intensify feelings.


Thank you all for the ideas and the support! My dad, who’s been stuck overseas during this whole covid debacle, is going to be returning next week. My mom is interviewing new attorneys I guess because she didn’t like the last one. My dad hasn’t mentioned anything to me re: his feelings on the subject, which is just fine.

I really resonated with the description of your friend’s divorce, PBK, because thats basically how I feel these things go. They’re hard and emotionally fraught and no one is the best version of themselves.

Going to do my best to stay out of the details and simply remind each of them that the best thing for everyone is to be patient and civil with each other.


Cannot recommend this highly enough. H’s parent’s divorce was very acrimonious and MIL tried to use H as her emotional support and he had to be really firm with both parents (but he was living with MIL at the time) about not coming to him with details. It’s between them and at the end of it all they will both still be your parents so preserving your relationship with them individually is huge.


As a lawyer I can’t recommend highly enough her retaining a good lawyer to help give her advice. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned here yet is each of your parents and you (possibly) might want to all start individual therapy. I have a friend who’s wife abruptly asked for a divorce and he sought therapy to help process all of the emotions (anger, feelings of loss, determine what red flags he missed, what he could do better next time, etc, etc) and it’s been a huge help to him.


I don’t have any advice to offer, but sending you all the hugs. My dad wanted a divorce from my mom and she just went along with everything he wanted because she didn’t want conflict, and he took advantage of that. I’m glad your mom is talking to lawyers. Let me know if you want to talk, this must be hard for all of you :heart:

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