In my 36 years as a Private Wealth Counselor, I have seen many divorces. Make no mistake about it — divorce is heartbreaking. To make matters worse, you’re left to figure out how to salvage the economics of your new financial life after the divorce.
I have found that, for my clients, the best way to start is by taking one step at a time. Write down a list of the most important items and then commit to addressing them one by one.

Facing the difficult reality of divorce can be scary and cre- ate loads of anxiety, but you can and will get through this. It all starts with having trusted advisors who can help you create a plan designed to provide you with financial peace of mind. Divorce rarely goes smoothly, as people’s worst traits get exposed during this process, not for all, but for many couples.
Taking care of you is where it all must start. You need to surround yourself with people who can help fill up your positive emotional energy cup. You need to choose professionals who can support you in all areas, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, legally and financially.
“It’s important that your attorney is more of a teacher than a dictator.”

The first thing you need to do is to take care of your body and pay attention to your own needs. Find someone to help you with meditation, yoga or work with a personal trainer at your local health club.
You will need to find a strong divorce lawyer. A good lawyer will help you understand what your rights are, along with your
responsibilities, throughout this process.

It’s important that your attorney is more of a teacher than a dictator. The goal is to legally close the relationship, then move on.
Financial worries can and will be some of your biggest stressors, so ask your existing trusted advisors (CPA, estate planning attorney), for several recommendations for a qualified financial advisory firm. It is important to ask if the firm has a special divorce planning group.
You should interview each financial advisor and ask for references you can call to confirm they have done a good job advising their existing divorced clients.

A qualified financial advisor should do a thorough analysis of every aspect of your financial life. At my firm, Mariner Wealth Advisors, we call this a “Financial Control Scorecard.” This will include learning about your current retirement accounts, insurance policies and employee benefit plans. Finding your new trusted support team may take time, so don’t rush these important choices. Find the best personality fit that makes you feel at peace.

When working with a qualified financial advisor, the first step they will take is to take an inventory of the assets you have and help you to determine where you are now and how to generate income from your investments that can help sustain your lifestyle after the divorce. This could be a list of assets you own individually or jointly with your spouse and will include 401(k) plans, stock options, real estate holdings, private investments and deferred compensation plans.

Your financial advisor will ask you to collect all your legal documents. Always remember to send docu- ments using a secure uplink, which your financial advisor’s firm should provide to you. With all the cyber- security breaches that have taken place recently, you do not want to send these private documents over standard email. Uploading them into a secure link protects your personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
Your financial advisor should ask you to provide any life insurance, traditional health care coverages and long term care policy information to review and keep current, while you complete the divorce proceedings. Your advisor can review the policies to make certain they are still appropriate for you, post the division of assets.

Another reason to update your insurance policies, is to name a new beneficiary after your divorce. Post-divorce, your life insurance and disability payouts should go to loved ones who depend on your income, not your former spouse.
A financial advisor worth their weight will be sure you have at least a term life policy worth 10–12 times your annual income, to protect your loved ones should any- thing unexpected happen to you.

Like life insurance, your will or living trust document will need to be updated to benefit your kids and loved ones. You’ll need to update these documents, so your possessions and assets go to the right people and not your former spouse. It is best to wait until the divorce is final, so you know which assets to include into your new estate planning documents.
After the divorce is final, you will want to update your powers of attorney. You most likely will want to remove your former spouse from having the power of attorney to make your financial or medical decisions for you, should you become incapacitated due to an accident or injury.
With the assistance of a qualified financial advisor, you will be able to put yourself in a better position to live your best life and have peace of mind that your wealth plan reflects this life change. You don’t have to go it alone. Having the right advice along the way from a team that puts your interests first is key don’t settle for anything less.

KELLY TREVETHAN is a senior wealth advisor with Mariner Wealth Advisors. He is a 36-year veteran of the financial services industry and has helped many families navigate divorce.

He can be reached at:

The views expressed are for commentary purposes only and do not take into account any individual personal, financial, legal or tax considerations. As such, the information contained herein is not intended to be personal legal, investment or tax advice. Nothing herein should be relied upon as such, and there is no guarantee that any claims made will come to pass. The opinions are based on information and sources of information deemed to be reliable, but Mariner Wealth Advisors does not warrant the accuracy of the information. Mariner Wealth Advisors (“MWA”), is an SEC registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Kansas. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training. MWA is in compliance with the current notice filing requirements imposed upon registered investment advisers by those states in which MWA maintains clients. MWA may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements. Any subsequent, direct communication by MWA with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. For additional information about MWA, including fees and services, please contact MWA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website ( Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.