Divorce has a way of resetting your expectations. That retirement you had been planning may still be possible, but how it will look will change. Sometimes the changes may be subtle, and other changes may be far more noticeable, depending on your starting position.

For a spouse who stayed home and raised the children, it may mean entering the job market or going to school to update a degree or training. For others, it may mean selling a second home or vacation property.

If you had planned to keep the family home in anticipation of visits from eventual grandchildren, it may require selling that home and finding something more in line with your future budget.

Ironically, while inflexibility is often a contributor to divorce, as parties to a relationship harden their positions in the belief they will be better able to wring concessions out of the other party; but flexibility is needed during a divorce.

This is because your world will change. While the ending of a marriage has many symbolic acts, the concrete reality of your property division will reinforce that symbolism.

Whether you are ordered to pay child support or await the payment of spousal support every month, you should use the time of your divorce as a way to transition to your new life.

And the more clearly you can articulate your goals for your future to your legal and financial professionals, the better they will be able to help you with that transition.

Flexibility is important, because no one can predict the future, and you have to create expectations and a plan that is resilient enough to handle those contingencies. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Divorce isn’t just about the money grab,” Larry Stein, July 28, 2014