News and Commentary

How Women Can Establish Financial Independence Following Divorce By Kathleen Marteney, CRPC

The emotional rollercoaster individuals endure during and after a divorce can be debilitating. Equally devastating are the financial fallouts that can ensue from these life transitions. However, there is a ray of sunshine beyond the storm when women take a moment to assess the facts of their newly single life and rebuild a solid financial foundation for their future.

Retitle Financial Accounts

 By closing joint bank and credit card accounts, you can help ensure that your former spouse’s ongoing liabilities do not become your responsibility. Equally important is checking your credit score to identify and resolve any issues that could tarnish your creditworthiness and affect your ability to stand on your own financially. Once you settle prior debts, you can open new accounts in your name and start establishing your own credit history, especially if prior credit was dependent on a former spouse.

Update Beneficiaries

 Remember to update transfer on death (TOD) registrations when re-titling accounts and change the named beneficiaries on bank, investment and retirement accounts and insurance policies. This will help prevent your ex-spouse from claiming assets you hold at death. To make these revisions, you simply must complete a form you can obtain from your bank or financial advisor.

Review, Update Estate Plans

 If a will and trust are already in place, take the time to review them with legal and financial counsel to ensure they continue to reflect your specific wishes and goals. This may include naming people as legal guardians for your minor children, executors and trustees of your estate, and beneficiaries for trusts, employee health benefits and retirement accounts. Also, take the time to ensure you have a healthcare proxy and durable financial power of attorney naming a third party to make critical medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you become ill, incapacitated or physically or mentally unable to make those decisions on your own. It is equally important to have a living will that documents your wishes concerning life-sustaining medical care.

Update Insurance Policies

 Health insurance for yourself and your children is critical throughout the divorce process, whether your coverage comes from a former spouse’s employer, a new employer for you, COBRA coverage or a new individual policy. Evaluating property/casualty, personal life and umbrella insurance policies can further ensure you have the right type and amount of coverage to meet your evolving needs. It is also essential to recognize the benefits of disability insurance should you be unable to continue working, as well as long-term care insurance to help pay for the rising care costs you will likely require later in life.

Evaluate Career and Lifestyle

Following a divorce, both spouses may have fewer resources available to them. Women can take this as an opportunity to assess their career options and evaluate their lifestyle “needs” versus “wants.”  A new home may be better suited for your lifestyle, or a new career path may provide a renewed sense of purpose, fulfillment and earnings to preserve assets for long-term retirement needs.

Plan and Budget

 You can more easily manage and achieve your financial goals when you map out a blueprint of your post-divorce finances and budget. While these plans likely will address the short-term realities of doing more with less, one of the benefits of financial planning is preparing for the future, whether that includes establishing an emergency fund, saving for retirement or a child’s education, or taking control of your newly single tax reporting responsibilities. Often, a review of current and potential investments can help identify opportunities to help you manage risks and maximize returns.

Life transitions are never easy. However, taking the time to understand your financial options and address post-divorce issues and opportunities head-on, often with the help of financial advisors, will empower more women to move ahead and take control of the financial aspects of their new lives.

About the Author: Kathleen Marteney, CRPC®, is a financial planner with Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, and a registered representative with PWA Securities, LLC (PWAS). She can be reached at (800) 737-8804 or via email at

Provenance Wealth Advisors, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Nineteenth Floor, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.

 Kathleen Marteney is a registered representative of and offers securities through PWA Securities, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC.

 This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.

 Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of PWA Securities, LLC. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of PWAS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making any investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

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Updated June 24, 2024