The Beginner's Guide To Divorce In Scottsdale

A practical guide to navigating your breakup

by Billie Tarascio

Divorce is a massive, life changing transaction and transition. For years I have been writing about every aspect of the legal process and how to best navigate the legal aspects of divorce by saving money, reducing conflict and getting to fair and favorable outcomes. Recently, my clients have transitioned my attention to all of the practical, non-legal aspects of divorce:

  1. How to tell the kids,
  2. How to ease the kids into a separation that is conflict free,
  3. Whether you should change schools,
  4. Whether to move out of state,
  5. How to choose a parenting plan schedule that works for everyone,
  6. How to choose the next place to live,
  7. Whether to downsize or keep the marital home,
  8. Who are the best local resources to help you with moving, storage,
  9. How to secure health care,
  10. How to untangle all of the online accounts you likely share with your soon to be ex,

This resource is for people in Scottsdale going through a divorce so that you can find the people to make this transition a little bit easier.

We all know that divorce is expensive. Usually, the focus of the discussion is on attorneys’ fees and how to reduce or eliminate those fees. The truth is, attorneys are only one piece of this very expensive transaction. Many of your expenses are likely to go up. For instance, you most likely have all your cars and your home “bundled” under your insurance company and you are probably getting a discount. Once you move out, you will no longer be eligible for the bundled discount. If you need new insurance, call my friend Sara Rhoads who lives in Scottsdale and understands the difficulties associated with transitioning due to divorce.

Additionally, you may have one “family car” big enough to take all the kids, and one smaller commuter car. This works fine in the same house, but when transitioning to two houses, someone may need a new car.

Before you address your transportation, you will probably need to take a look at your housing situation. This can be such an emotional decision. Many people fight over the marital home and believe that keeping the marital home is a major bargaining chip and a way to provide stability for the kids. After years of watching couples divorce I can confidently tell you that the marital home isn’t magical. It isn’t a bargaining chip. It isn’t tied to your children successfully transitioning from one house to two. In my humble opinion, there are three main considerations (not in order) to factor in when determining where to live:

  1. Choose a location that is convenient for you. Life is about to get more complicated. If at all possible, make sure you choose a place to live that makes I easier for you to get to school, work, and all the other activities you are traveling to each week.
  2. Make sure if you are moving out you choose a place where you can have your children with you. Many times men will end up getting a small apartment and leaving the kids primarily with mom. This is problematic. The vast majority of the time, children do best when they see both parents frequently, equally. It is almost impossible to exercise and equal parenting time schedule when one parent doesn’t have space for the kids to spend time with both parents. One option that works for some couples is called “birds nesting”. In this situation, the couple would each get their own small place or they would get one small place and they would share equal time with the kids in the marital home. In other words, the parents leave and take turns coming back to the nest. I have seen this work well when kids are just about to graduate high school or for a short period of time for a trial separation or for a year or so while the parents get all the details of the divorce worked out.
  3. I hate to put this last. If it is at all possible for you to downsize your housing expenses, this should be a top priority. Lately, I am seeing newly divorced couples taking a chapter from the millennial handbook to downsize their housing footprint when going through a divorce. They are rethinking home ownership and shrinking their yards and general housing expenses. Less house means less expense and less time cleaning. It can help to simplify your life when you are facing this massive transition.

 

Forward Your Mail

If you do move out, make sure to forward your mail with the post office. I know you may not think you get much mail, but some important items are likely to come.

If you are looking for local assistance in Scottsdale with buying or selling, contact my friend Neil Brooks. He’s in the top 1% of Realtors and has always taken great care of my clients in the past.

For moving, clients have raved about this local company “Moving at Ease” for Scottsdale moving related to divorce.

The practical aspects of dividing your online life and finances can be more difficult than it may seem. So much of our lives are automatically logged in. If you don’t want your ex tracking your location, purchasing behaviors, or other general information, you will need to remove access from all financial and social media accounts. Changing all those passwords is going to be challenging, but if your privacy is important, it is well worth the effort.

Turn off “Find My Friends”

First and foremost, turn off “find my friends” on your iphone or check your family share plan to make sure that your location isn’t always known to your ex. While you are at it, consider getting your own plan, or your ex will be looking at everyone you are talking to. He or she could even figure out which attorneys you may be consulting with based on the numbers you are calling. Take some time to get this figured out first.

Change Email Passwords

Next, change your email passwords. You may think your ex doesn’t have access, but if you are using one of your main, go to, passwords, just change it. Your attorney will likely be communicating with you.

Open Your Own Bank Account

Then, open your own bank account. Most astonishingly, banks require both people present at the same time to close a joint account. Really? During the weeks leading up to you moving out things can be very tense, and if you are worried about your spouse removing money, you are probably not on great terms. A joint trip to the bank may not be possible. You can open your own account and remove your auto-pay to your new account. Most of the time you can also remove half of the balance in joint accounts without any worries. (Just make sure there is enough to pay the bills.)

Next, make sure you cancel joint credit cards or consider lowering the credit limit to avoid potential exposure if you are the primary cardholder.

While you are at it, make sure to download all the statements you can for any spending by either of you over the last several years. You will likely need these records and you can expect that your spouse will be changing passwords very soon.

 

Don’t Forget About ALL Your Accounts

Other accounts to consider changing:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Home Depot, Old Navy or other store loyalty cards
  • Shared calendars
  • PayPal
  • iTunes
  • E-bay
  • Online storage at Amazon, dropbox, or other accounts
  • Photo sharing
  • Amazon and other shopping portals
  • Your health insurance or doctor’s portal: protect your private health information

Also, take a look at your typical monthly transactions carefully and determine whether the utilities are in your name or your spouses. Find out what is auto debited and which of those transactions you want to move. You will need to start putting together a new budget. This can seem daunting. If you need assistance, personal financial coach Kelsa Dickey has been a lifesaver for clients in the past. She’s great, and will definitely help you get your personal finance under control.

I know we are scratching the surface. If I have missed something from this local Scottsdale divorce guide, let me know! If there are professionals who have helped you, let me know. We will add them to the guide.