We have seen the major reason for divorce comes from infidelity. Just the thought that one spouse is cheating on the other can be devastating to a marriage.
Those that have private Ashley Madison accounts (for the purposes of extramarital affairs) that have been or will be made public by the hackers are at great risk of having their current relationship ruined. With 32 million accounts, the odds are that the activities of these hackers might lead to many divorces.
As mentioned in my book He Said: She Said: A Practical Guide to Finance and Money During Divorce, here is some financial planning advice that should be strongly considered:
Don’t bite your nose to spite your face, as angry as you may be
Make sure that after the marital estate has been split there are enough assets to allow you to live a reasonable life style
Consult appropriate professionals (divorce attorneys, certified divorce financial analysts)
Check your credit. If you need to rent/buy a home or buy/lease a car know ahead of time whether you can secure lending at a reasonable interest rate
Don’t plan to live off your credit cards, but make sure to have one in your name
Determine your assets and liabilities. Make sure you have copies of both your and your spouse’s investment statements (include 401k s) and mortgage statements, credit card balances
Have access to your tax returns
Know how much life insurance your spouse has and that you’re the beneficiary
Know how much money you need on a monthly basis
Most importantly, be realistic - even though you feel like a victim you most likely will not receive everything you feel you deserve.
Remember divorce is a wrenching experience both financially and emotionally. I liken it to a death without a body. The decision to divorce should not be taken lightly however if you are convinced it is the only way to go whether from an Ashley Madison account or because of any other reasons, seek professional advice from a divorce attorney and a financial planner who specializes in divorce to get your financial affairs (no pun intended) in order.
Barbara Shapiro is the President of HMS Financial Group located in Dedham, Massachusetts. She is a CFP®, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, a Registered Investment Advisor and a member of the FPA Massachusetts. Her firm specializes in comprehensive financial planning with a subspecialty in divorce that assists clients’ transition from marriage to independence with peace of mind and confidence. Learn more at HMS-Financial.com.